Reporter 463, 12 March 2001

Ken’s reward for his hole in the sky ideas

A prestigious £50,000 prize has gone to a University academic for his contribution to the understanding of the stratospheric aerosols that promote Antarctic ozone depletion.

In 1994, Dr Ken Carslaw of the University’s School of the Environment showed that stratospheric aerosols were liquid, rather than solid, overturning earlier ideas that had dominated the field since the discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole.

Dwindling protection – Dr Ken Carslaw beside a poster illustrating the depletion of polar ozone

Since then he has continued to apply fundamental physical and chemical principles to advance the understanding of the upper atmosphere.

The Philip Leverhulme Prize recognises the world-class achievement of outstanding young research scholars who have made substantial and original contributions to fundamental knowledge.

Dr Carslaw is one of 35 scholars who have been awarded a prize of £50,000 each.

Dr Carslaw said: "I’m delighted to win the Philip Leverhulme Prize. Atmospheric research is a dynamic and fast moving discipline in which to develop ideas and I have benefited from working with some excellent colleagues. Being awarded research money with few strings attached is an odd experience and one that presents it own challenges!"

Dr Carslaw is currently working on explaining some newly discovered large particles in the Arctic stratosphere. He is developing novel three-dimensional particle models to try to understand where the particles come from and what effect they may have on stratospheric chemistry, in particular ozone depletion.

More information about Dr Carslaw’s work can be found at research/aerosols/aerosol_projects.html

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