Ulrich Pöschl elected as AGU Fellow 

Chemist is honored for his transformative contributions to understanding multiphase processes at the atmosphere-biosphere interface and their impact on the Earth system and public health

September 13, 2023

Prof. Ulrich Pöschl was elected as a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). He joined 53 other individuals in the 2023 Class of Fellows. AGU, the world's largest Earth and space sciences association, annually recognizes a select number of individuals for its highest honors. Since 1962, the AGU Union Fellows Committee has selected less than 0.1% of members as new Fellows. 

Ulrich Pöschl was selected because of his outstanding scientific achievements, contributions to furthering scientific advancement, and exemplary leadership. He also embodies AGU’s vision of a thriving, sustainable, and equitable future powered by discovery, innovation, and action. Equally important is that he conducted himself with integrity, respect, and collaboration while creating deep engagement in education, diversity, and outreach. 

Scientific career and achievements

Ulrich Pöschl is Director of the Multiphase Chemistry Department at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and Professor at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. He has studied chemistry at the Technical University of Graz, and he has worked as a postdoctoral fellow, research scientist, group leader, and university lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, and the Technical University of Munich. His research and teaching are focused on the effects of multiphase processes, i.e., interactions between gases, liquids, and solids at the atmosphere-biosphere interface and their impact on the Earth system and public health. 

For example, Prof. Pöschl developed a universal kinetic framework of mass transport and chemical reactions at gas-liquid and gas-solid interfaces. He and his team unraveled how reversible adsorption of gas molecules and the phase state of the condensed substrate influence the rate of heterogeneous chemical reactions and the atmospheric dispersion of hazardous air pollutants. They showed how organic and inorganic fine particulate matter interact with gaseous air pollutants in epithelial lining fluids to form reactive oxygen and nitrogen species and generate oxidative stress in the human respiratory tract. Moreover, Pöschl and collaborators pioneered the investigation of airborne bioparticles and biomolecules like bacteria, fungal spores, and proteins, using modern analytical techniques to elucidate their diversity and interaction with photooxidants, water vapor, clouds, and precipitation (bioprecipitation cycle).

"I feel very honored being elected as an AGU Fellow, and I take It as an encouragement to further advance and disseminate scientific knowledge in collaboration and exchange across and beyond the global geoscientific community", says Ulrich Pöschl. "Thus, I would like to share the honor not only with the colleagues and students who contributed to my scientific research and insights. I would also like to share it with the numerous community members who helped advance open access, open peer review, and interactive public discussion on our way to an epistemic web that documents the scientific discourse in accordance with critical rationalism - openly telling the world not only what we know, but also how well we know it, and where the limitations are." 

Engagement for improved scientific communication

Since more than 20 years, Ulrich Pöschl has engaged in the improvement of scientific communication and quality assurance through interactive forms of publication, review, and discussion that are open to the scientific community and to the public worldwide. In collaboration with a globally distributed network of co-editors, Pöschl launched the first interactive open access journal, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). As founding and chief editor, Pöschl established ACP as one of the leading journals in the atmospheric sciences, and as Publications Committee Chair and Council Member of the European Geosciences Union (EGU), he supported the launch of further interactive open access journals to serve the entire geoscientific community. Moreover, he has served as president of the EGU Atmospheric Sciences Division.  Earlier recognitions for the scholarly achievements of Prof. Pöschl comprise the EGU Union Service Award (2005), the Pius XI Gold Medal of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (2012), and the Copernicus-Medal of the Copernicus-Gesellschaft (2015). Since 2014, Pöschl has been consistently honored as one of the world’s most Highly Cited Researchers (Web of Science).

Official honoring ceremony at AGU2023

AGU will formally recognize this year’s recipients at AGU23, which will convene more than 25,000 attendees from over 100 countries in San Francisco and online everywhere on 11-15 December 2023. The annual Honors Reception is a chance for AGU’s community to recognize the outstanding work of our colleagues and be inspired by their accomplishments and stories.

AGU (www.agu.org) is a global community supporting more than half a million advocates and professionals in the Earth and space sciences. Through broad and inclusive partnerships, AGU aims to advance discovery and solution science that accelerate knowledge and create solutions that are ethical, unbiased and respectful of communities and their values. Our programs include serving as a scholarly publisher, convening virtual and in-person events and providing career support. We live our values in everything we do, such as our net zero energy renovated building in Washington, D.C. and our Ethics and Equity Center, which fosters a diverse and inclusive geoscience community to ensure responsible conduct.

About the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry

Current research at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry (www.mpic.de) in Mainz aims at an integral understanding of chemical processes in the Earth system, particularly in the atmosphere and biosphere. Our scientists explore the interactions of the climate, ocean, and atmospheric systems from geologic to annual time scales. Investigations address a wide range of interactions between air, water, soil, life and climate in the course of Earth history up to today´s human-driven epoch, the Anthropocene.

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