Renowned scientist Ralph J. Cicerone dies at 73

Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone, a distinguished UC Irvine scientist who helped identify the potentially catastrophic threat to Earth’s ozone layer from manmade chemicals, passed away on 5th of November. He was 73.

The great scientist’s family didn’t release a cause of his death. William Kearney, the director of media relations for National Academies of Sciences, Engineering & Medicine, said he died unexpectedly at his Short Hills, N.J.-based home.

Dr. Cicerone was a globally renowned scientist who hit headlines when he revealed that organic compounds known as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), methane and some other trace gases were on track to surpass CO2 as the main greenhouse gases responsible for global warming. His work proved influential in developing global environmental policies.

UC Irvine Chancellor Howard Gillman said, “For his powerful and profound work as a chemist and Earth system scientist, and for his recognized stature in his discipline, we in academia salute Ralph Cicerone. For his courageous work uncovering the causes and effects of climate change, the world owes him a debt of gratitude.”

When he arrived as a freshman at the Massachusetts Institution of Technology in 1961, he was the first person in his family to join a college. In 1970, he earned a doctorate from the University of Illinois. Later, he joined the faculty of University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he intensified his research on atmospheric chemistry.

After leaving Michigan, he worked at the Scripps Institution and with the Boulder, Colorado-based National Center for Atmospheric Research. In 1989, he joined the UC-Irvine faculty and was elevated to the position of chancellor in 1998.

Dr. Cicerone is survived by his wife Carol Mitsuko, daughter Sara Cicerone and two grandchildren.