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(Last updated 5/4/05)



COLUMBUS , Ohio – Two Ohio State University researchers – a noted glaciologist and an acclaimed inorganic chemist – have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the country's most prestigious scientific honors.

Lonnie Thompson, Distinguished University Professor of geological sciences and an expert on the effects that global climate change is having on the shrinking of glaciers and ice fields around the globe, was named.

Also elected was Malcolm Chisholm, a Distinguished Professor of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, professor of chemistry and leading researcher in the field of developing “smart” materials and innovative polymers. They were among 72 new members announced by the Academy on Tuesday (5/3).

“We are elated by the news that the Academy selected two of Ohio State 's most renowned basic scientists to join its ranks,” said Karen Holbrook, Ohio State President. “Both Professors Thompson and Chisholm are world-class leaders in their respective fields of research and their election today is a fitting acknowledgement of their individual accomplishments. This is further reaffirmation of Ohio State 's world-class faculty.”

Rick Freeman, Dean of the College of Mathematical and Physical Sciences and professor of physics, said, "This is enormously gratifying - to see two of our finest scholars recognized by the Academy proves a point I've been trying to make since I got here.

“This university is a truly excellent institution. Midwest modesty seems to prevent people from bragging about it. I am really pleased to see the National Academy brag a little for us, by offering recognition that makes us truly proud."

For almost three decades, Thompson has led an effort to first recognize that the shrinking of tropical glaciers and ice fields is an early warning of the impact of global climate change, and second, to rescue the remaining archives of ancient climate trapped in ice cores from those locations for future research.

“We believe that that the current shrinking of ice fields around the globe are modern equivalents to the historic canaries in the coal mine that warned of imminent danger,” he said. “The planet is sending us a serious signal that we should not ignore.”

Earlier this year, he was one of two winners of the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, perhaps the premier award in environmental science, energy and medicine. In recent years, he received both the Heineken Prize for Environmental Science from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Commonwealth Award for Science and Invention, (the latter he received jointly with his spouse and research collaborator, Ellen Mosley-Thompson, professor of geography).

He has also received the Vega Medal from the Swedish Society for Anthropology and geography. He is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union and in 2001, he was named as one of “America 's Best In Science and Medicine” by Time Magazine and CNN.

Chisholm is a researcher whose research interests bridge the divide between disparate fields of chemistry, linking metallic compounds to organic ones and developing new polymers and “smart” materials for a multitude of uses. One current focus centers on the harnessing of new polymers from renewable resources, negating our dependence on petroleum compounds.

“We are looking for new ways to develop polymers using ‘greener' sources such as biomass to produce compounds that are both biocompatible and biodegradable,” he said. “These would be useful in a multitude of applications, from bulk packaging materials to biological implants, from new drug delivery systems to surgical sutures.”

Chisholm is a fellow of the Royal Society of London, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, der Deutsche Akademie fur Naturforscher-Leopoldina, as well as a corresponding fellow of the Royal Academy of Edinburgh, Scotland.

He received the Davy Medal from the Royal Society in 1999, and the Ludwig Mond Medal from the Royal Society of Chemistry the next year. He formerly received both Sloan and Guggenheim fellowships and in 1999, he received the Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry from the American Chemical Society.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare.  It was established in 1863 by a congressional act of incorporation signed by Abraham Lincoln that calls on the Academy to act as an official adviser to the federal government, upon request, in any matter of science or technology.


Contact: Lonnie Thompson, (614) 292-6652, thompson.3@osu.edu ; and Malcolm Chisholm, (614) 292-7216, chisholm@chemistry.ohio-state.edu .

Written by Earle Holland, (614) 292-8384, Holland.8@osu.edu .