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January 2002

The Outstanding Accomplishment Awards

List of nominations

The 7 December UCAR/NCAR/UOP party continued the tradition of ringing in the holidays while recognizing the outstanding work of staff. A total of 15 nominations were received for this year's Outstanding Accomplishment Awards (formerly the Outstanding Performance Awards). At the all-staff party, sponsored by the Employee Activities Committee and held at the Mesa Lab, UCAR president Rick Anthes announced the winners.

Rick noted that the 15 nominations included some 66 staffers. "This represents a tremendous set of achievements," he said. "Just being nominated is a major achievement in itself." (see Rick's complete remarks below.)

After the winners in each of the four categories were announced, Rick sprang a surprise—the first-ever Distinguished Achievement Award. The recipient was Tim Brown, who has won international acclaim for his pioneering work in detecting extrasolar planets. Most recently, he helped in the first direct detection of an atmosphere on a planet outside our solar system.

HAO's Tim Brown, second from left, won the first-ever Distinguished Achievement Award. With him, from left to right, are UCAR president Rick Anthes, NCAR associate director Steve Dickson, and UCAR vice president for finance and administration Katy Schmoll.

A delighted Tim acknowledged that searching for extrasolar planets may appear to be outside the traditional NCAR focus on the earth's atmosphere. However, he said: "Organizations have missions, and NCAR has a mission. But sometimes there are side trips we just have to make. This side trip worked out really well."

Below are the winners in the other four categories. For a complete list of the nominees, as well as a fuller description of the party festivities, see the accompanying article. For past awards, see the Outstanding Accomplishment Awards home page and Recent Honors and Awards Presented to UCAR and NCAR Staff

Administrative Achievement

Dan Wilson (F&A) won for his contributions to the financial well-being of UCAR. His innovative analyses of available financial tools have helped save UCAR money and actually added to the net worth of the corporation, which in turn has helped UCAR get lower interest rates on its debt. The benefit to the corporation is estimated to be in excess of $4 million.

F&A's Dan Wilson, second from left, won the Administrative Achievement Award.

Outstanding Publication

Juanzhen "Jenny" Sun and N. Andrew Crook (both joint MMM/RAP) won for their articles: "Dynamical and microphysical retrieval from Doppler radar observations using a cloud model and its adjoint. Part I: Model development and simulated data experiments," Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 54, 1642–1661; "Part II: Retrieval experiments of an observed Florida convective storm," Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 55, 835–852, and "Real-time low- level wind and temperature analysis using single WSR-88D data," Weather and Forecasting 16, 117–132. The papers make an important contribution to atmospheric science by presenting a new method for improving 0–12 hour forecasts and, in so doing, advancing the scientific understanding of convection. They also break new ground in assimilating Doppler radar data into a cloud-scale model, providing the potential for significantly improving initial conditions in the model.

Andy Crook (second from left) and Jenny Sun (center), both joint MMM/RAP, won the Outstanding Publication Award.

Education and Outreach

Morris Weisman (MMM) won for outstanding contributions to the community in the area of convective weather. In recent years, Morris has dedicated considerable effort in synthesizing a fundamental understanding of the latest advancements in convective-storm and severe-weather research, developing innovative new teaching materials to convey this knowledge, and instructing both operational forecasters and university students on these topics. Through his involvement as a volunteer in the UCAR COMET program, Morris was the key science contributor to the development of four distance learning modules and has been a frequent instructor in COMET courses.

MMM's Morris Weisman won the Education and Outreach Award.

Scientific and Technical Advancement

Scott Swerdlin, Tom Warner, Cindy Mueller, Laurie Carson, Yubao Liu, Doug Lindholm, Rebecca Ruttenberg, Tom Saxen, Hank Fisher, Daran Rife, Troy Sandblom, Julien Chastang, David Hahn, Hsiao-Ming Hsu, Rong-Shyang Sheu, Steve Webb, David Leberknight, Fei Chen, Niles Oien, Jaimi Yee, Terri Betancourt, and Carter Borst (RAP), Chris Davis (MMM/RAP), and Simon Low-Nam, Al Bourgeois, and Kevin Manning (MMM) won for their work in designing, developing, and implementing a Four-Dimensional Weather (4DWX) system for the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command, which is the command's primary source of weather data, forecasts, and analyses. Significant advances in both science and engineering have been made in the course of developing the system at five army ranges. They include advances in real-time, four-dimensional data assimilation techniques, providing improved short-term forecasting capabilities; and the creation of Java-based software to manage data ingest, quality control, requests for information, system monitoring, and weather alerts.

A RAP/MMM team won the Scientific and Technical Advancement Award.

Prepared remarks of UCAR president Rick Anthes at the 7 December Outstanding Performance Awards:

I'd like to begin by thanking the string quartet and the UCARolers for their wonderful performance.

Hello, I'm Rick Anthes, president of UCAR. Here with me are Steve Dickson, associate director of NCAR, and Katy Schmoll, vice president for finance and administration. Welcome to the 2001 Outstanding Achievement Awards ceremony.

Before getting to the awards, I would just like to mention that I am very proud of UCAR and our people. It seems like almost every day we are recognized for excellence. We have just completed the NSF and SPEC reviews of the NCAR divisions and UCAR and NCAR management. The SOARS program has just been awarded a Presidential Award in Scientific Excellence and Mentoring. The launch of the TIMED mission with the TIDI instrument today was successful (that's why Tim Killeen is not with us this evening; he was at the launch). Altogether things are going very well for UCAR, and I thank you all for your contributions to this great organization!

Now turning to the awards, I would like to thank the large number of people who make these awards possible. First, I'd like to acknowledge those in the divisions and programs who recognized the outstanding work of today's winners and wrote the nominations describing their accomplishments and achievements. Additionally, I would like to thank the selection Jury, who carefully deliberated and thoughtfully selected our winners. They are; Bob Roesch Hanne Mauriello, Linda Carbone, Don Lenschow, Shawn Winkelman, Jack Fox, Rol Madden, Phil Judge, Bill Mankin, Mary Marlino, Kathy Miller, Ben Domenico, Meg McClellan, Wayne Shiver, Mary Barth, Rebecca Morss, Tom Bettge, Bob Barron, Russ Rew, Karon Kelly, Gene Harano. Finally, thanks to Susan Montgomery-Hodge and Dale Kellogg for their staff work throughout the process.

This year, we will only announce the winners in each of the four categories. You have seen the list of nominations that were printed in yesterday's "This Week at UCAR" announcements, and know that there were 15 nominations, consisting of 66 people from our institution. This represents a tremendous dedication to our goals and missions by our excellent staff. ALL of the nominees are to be congratulated on their achievements. You can learn more about the winners and their achievements, in the next Staff Notes Monthly and on the Web.

The Outstanding Accomplishments Awards consist of 4 categories: Education and Outreach, Scientific and Technical Advancement, Outstanding Publication, and Administrative Achievement. These awards recognize notable accomplishments by an individual or through team efforts.

This year there are winners in all four categories. I will announce the names and ask those present to come up and join us here to receive their prizes. Again this year, we would like to get photos of all of our winners, so we ask you to pause briefly to allow the photographer to snap your photo.

The Administrative Achievement Award is given for outstanding leadership and professional excellence in the area of administrative support. Efforts that result in substantial, innovative achievements in service to sponsors, constituents and staff, or accomplishments that help to create an environment that fosters excellent customer service, are eligible for this award. Additionally, achievements that maximize employee potential and foster high ethical standards or demonstrate substantial improvements to productivity or cost savings to the organization are recognized.

The winner this year is Dan Wilson, UCAR treasurer, for his contributions to the financial well-being of UCAR, which have resulted in general fund increases and debt decreases.

In making this nomination, the nominators stated that Dan's leadership has brought us to the cutting edge of financial/treasury management practices. He has had an enormous impact on our programs, with cost savings up to $4 million.

The Jury, in making this award, stated "Dan came out as the winner due to his strong leadership, innovative approach and huge cost savings to the organization". They unanimously recommended Dan as this year's Administrative Achievement award winner. Congratulations, Dan, you're our man!

The Education and Outreach award is given for efforts having a significant impact on, and leading to, improvements in scientific, mathematics, or technical education, or other efforts that significantly enhance the Public's understanding of scientific or technical issues. These activities may involve postgraduate, graduate, undergraduate, K-12, or general public education. Our winner this year is Morris Weisman of MMM.

In naming Morris for this award, the Jury stated; "Morris has demonstrated an unerring personal commitment to excellence in education over the years, inspiring students at all levels and consistently contributing new material on complex topics. Morris has dedicated considerable time and effort to synthesizing a fundamental understanding of the latest advancements in convective-storm and severe-weather research, developing innovative new teaching material to convey this knowledge and instructing operational forecasters, university students, the media and the public on these topics. Pages could be written about Morris' dedication to and inspiration of students. Ultimately, Morris' contributions and commitment to education embody Walter Orr Roberts' ideal of Science in the Service of Society." On a personal note, it is a pleasure to recognize Morris, who was a student of mine at Penn State in the mid 1970s.

Congratulations, Morris!

The Scientific and Technical Advancement Award recognizes efforts leading to substantial improvements in scientific and/or technical capabilities, including advances in hardware or software engineering, computer science, and applied science. Accomplishments in this category might, but do not necessarily, result in a scientific or technical publication.

Again this year, we honor a team effort. The winning nomination is for RAP's work in designing, developing and implementing a Four- Dimensional Weather system for the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC)."

There are 26 winners, so please hold your applause until I name them all:

Scott Swerdlin, Tom Warner, Cindy Mueller, Chris Davis, Laurie Carson, Doug Lindholm, Yubao (yew-bough) Liu, Rebecca Ruttenberg, Tom Saxen, Hank Fisher, Daran Rife, Troy Sandblom (sandbloom), Julien Chastang, David Hahn, Hsiao-Ming Hsu, Rong-Shyang Sheu, Steve Webb, David Leberknight (lee-ber night), Fei Chen, Niles Oien (oyen), Jaimi Yee, Terri Betancourt, Carter Borst, all from RAP, and Simon Low-Nam, Al Bourgeois, and Kevin Manning of MMM.

In selecting this accomplishment the Jury stated that the Four- Dimensional Weather system provides ATEC meteorology groups the ability to make operational decisions based upon a suite of advanced meteorological analysis, forecast, and display capabilities that provide high-resolution, range-specific conditions and forecasts of low-level winds, dispersion patterns, noise propagation, thunderstorm location, and mean climatological states.

Not only did this project demonstrate a high standard of interdisciplinary collaboration between two NCAR divisions, MMM and RAP, but it also provides an impressive example of how a large number of people can organize a number of complicated components into a fully integrated system. The achievement in project management and coordination alone is truly impressive.

This advancement has immediate real-world applications for both the Departments of Defense and Energy. The output from this system is currently being used in weather forecasts in Afghanistan, and will be used during the upcoming Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Congratulations to you all!

The next Award is for Outstanding Publication. This award is given for published results of original research review papers, pedagogically-oriented books, or other contributions to atmospheric science broadly defined, or that connect atmospheric science with other disciplines or with matters of public policy. Our winners this year are Jenny Sun and Andrew Crook, MMM for their paper entitled "Dynamical and Microphyhsical Retrieval form Doppler Radar Observations Using a Cloud Model and Its Adjoint: Parts I, II and III.

This work was nominated independently by two divisions. Both MMM and RAP recognized its importance and contribution to the atmospheric sciences. The Jury agreed and said, "It is important to understand and predict convective weather because it can have devastating effects on society and because it plays a role in the larger scale atmospheric circulation. The Variational Doppler Radar Analysis system (VDRAS) developed by Sun and Crook promises to improve short-term convective forecasts. Their work demonstrates that it is possible to assimilate Doppler radar data into a cloud-scale model using 4-D data assimilation and in doing so, to retrieve thermodynamic and wind fields on the spatial scales required for improved convective-scale forecasts. Throughout their work they confront the problems that arise with a creativity born of a thorough knowledge of the relevant physics."

Congratulations to Jenny and Andrew!

There is one other Award category. Established two years ago, the Distinguished Achievement Award was meant to represent "the very best of UCAR's accomplishments, one that significantly enhances UCAR's reputation." This new honor carries a monetary prize of $10,000 and can be given for a publication, development of new technologies, education and outreach, or other leadership and support activities consistent with UCAR missions. As with the other awards, there may be years in which no Distinguished Achievement honor is given.

I am extremely pleased to announce that the first Distinguished Achievement Award will go to Dr. Timothy Brown of the High Altitude Observatory for his contributions to the detection and observation of extra-solar planets.

Since 1995 the world has witnessed the unfolding of one of the greatest events in the history of Astronomy; the discovery of planets orbiting stars other than the Sun. Tim Brown has made several major contributions to this process of discovery. The range of Tim's contributions has included the building of telescopes and instruments for the optical measurements; creative, sophisticated data analysis to separate instrumental and other noise from the true signal; inferences of physical characteristics of the planets; application of astrophysical theory to eliminate non-planetary causes of the observations; and development of theoretical estimates of atmospheric absorption spectra. In much of this work, Tim generously created a unique opportunity for a graduate student, David Charbonneau, to earn his PhD.

The centerpiece of Tim's work in this area is without doubt the first measurement of the transit of an extrasolar planet across its companion star. Remarkably, this measurement was made with a very small, inexpensive telescope that Tim designed and ground the optics for in his garage!

The Jury was conscious of the precedent-setting nature of this first Distinguished Achievement award and deliberated carefully and fully before making this selection. In their words, "Tim is a superb experimentalist, having made substantial contributions to the development of the instrument used in these studies. He has also been in the forefront of the theoretical interpretation of the data from both radial velocity and transit measurements. His breadth of contributions and their quality and significance make Tim Brown an outstanding choice for the Distinguished Achievement Award."

Please join me in honoring our first recipient, Tim Brown.

This concludes our annual Awards ceremony. Thank you for coming, and sharing this important recognition of the outstanding work done by our staff. Happy Holidays!

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Edited by David Hosansky, hosansky@ucar.edu
Prepared for the Web by Jacque Marshall
Last revised: Wed Dec 12 16:05:08 MST 2001