Two ARL Scientists to Receive Prestigious Bronze Medal Award for Scientific Achievement

May 2019

Drs. Mark Cohen and Winston Luke earned a Bronze Medal “For sustained excellence in measurements and modeling leading to improved understanding of the emissions, transport, and fate of atmospheric mercury.” The award will be presented during a formal ceremony May 14 at NOAA’s Science Center in Silver Spring, Maryland.

The Department of Commerce Bronze Medal is the highest honor award that the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere may bestow. The award recognizes superior performance characterized by outstanding or significant contributions which have increased the efficiency and effectiveness of the operating unit (in this case, NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, or “NOAA Research”).

Drs. Cohen and Luke far exceeded the expectations of their respective roles as Physical Scientists, pioneering the development of globally-significant, state-of-the-art measurement/modeling methods that enabled new insights into atmospheric mercury (Hg), greatly reducing uncertainties and illustrating fate/transport with unprecedented detail. In layman’s terms, the duo developed innovative tools and methods that resulted in previously unavailable information, leading to new insights regarding where mercury in fish comes from. Sharing their tools and results with national and international stakeholders is helping better enable those responsible for protecting human health to achieve their missions.

About Dr. Mark Cohen

Dr. Cohen is internationally recognized for his development and continued refinement of HYSPLIT-Hg, a NOAA model that has more accurately quantified the relative impacts of national and international mercury emissions on critical ecosystems, showing the previously unrecognized importance of regional sources. Modeling results from HYSPLIT-Hg are being incorporated into the Great Lakes Environmental Management and Response Application system, an online mapping tool that facilitates coastal pollution cleanup, restoration, and response efforts in the Great Lakes Basin. Dr. Cohen has authored numerous reports and peer-reviewed publications that describe the amounts and likely sources of mercury deposited to each of the Great Lakes, including a NOAA Report to Congress. His previous awards include the NOAA Technology Transfer Award (2017) and the OAR Outstanding Scientific Paper Award (2018) as a member of ARL’s HYSPLIT team.

About Dr. Winston Luke

Dr. Luke achieved international recognition for his development and testing of methodologies to quantify and ultimately reduce measurement uncertainties, and for convening global workshops to improve sampling methodologies in existing networks. He led pioneering efforts to measure mercury using aircraft, as well as to implement and expand mercury measurements in air and precipitation worldwide, and has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications that describe the methods and results of atmospheric mercury measurements. Dr. Luke, who serves as Secretary of the National Atmospheric Deposition Program’s Network Operations Subcommittee board, was the recipient of a Silver Medal in 2014 for his efforts to help create the NOAA Center for Weather and Climate Prediction.

About the Bronze Medal

The Bronze Medal is awarded at the individual, group/team, or organization level. To warrant a Bronze Medal, a contribution must focus on qualitative and quantitative performance measures reflected in the Department’s Strategic Plan and be identified in one of the following areas: leadership, personal and professional excellence, scientific/engineering achievement, organizational development, customer service, administrative/technical support or heroism.

UPDATE 6/19/19: Dr. Cohen’s photo replaced with one from the award ceremony.

Three men standing in front of U.S. and NOAA flags. One man holding a plaque.
Dr. Cohen (center) with Dr. Neil Jacobs (left), Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, and David Holst (right), OAR Chief Financial Officer/Chief Administrative Officer. Credit: NOAA
Photo of Dr. Winston Luke
Dr. Winston Luke. Credit: NOAA