Richard Stolarski

NASA GSFC/Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory
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I started a career in physics as an undergraduate student at the College of Puget Sound, a full 3 miles from my home in Tacoma, Washington.  I wandered across the country to Florida to go to graduate school and then to Michigan for a post-doc position.  I eventually joined NASA in Houston as part of the Shuttle Environmental Effects Project Office, working on the writing of the environmental impact statement for the space shuttle.  I finally came to Goddard in 1976 into a fledgling branch created to study the ozone layer.  I went from a physics degree to research on the ionosphere and thermosphere, and finally drifted downward into the stratosphere.  I will describe to you the history of our developing understanding of the stratospheric ozone layer from the 1970s to the present as I saw it.  In the 1970s we were just beginning to realize that the chemistry of minor constituents in the stratosphere mattered to the ozone layer.  Today we have gone through major scientific and political developments that have led to the Montreal Protocol that bans the production of many ozone-depleting substances.  I was extremely lucky to get into this exciting field in its early stages and to be an eyewitness to much of the historical development of our understanding.  I will highlight some (hopefully useful) lessons that I have learned on this journey.