Spyros Pandis, of the University of Patras and the Foundation for Research and Technology in Greece, was awarded the 2021 Vilhelm Bjerknes Medal for his outstanding contributions to atmospheric sciences and establishing our understanding of aerosol formation and its processes. It recognizes his research and leadership in establishing our understanding of organic aerosols, particularly their formation and atmospheric processing, and for pursuing a scientific approach that combines original laboratory, field, and modelling studies that have enriched and broadened the community.
Pandis is an exceptional scientist at the frontiers of research in atmospheric aerosols and their roles in climate and health. He combines creativity, clarity of thinking, and an ability to simplify complex systems. Pandis has a passion for the science and is an outstanding communicator to the public and policymakers. His groundbreaking research has included laboratory measurements, in-situ field studies, and atmospheric modelling of transport and chemistry associated with ozone and particulate matter formation. He has made fundamental advancements in the complex thermodynamics of phase partitioning in atmospheric aerosols. This research has led to the improvement and refinement of almost every regional and global air quality model in use today.
Pandis contributed substantially to the understanding of atmospheric aerosols and their impact on air quality and climate. He initiated new directions in aerosol research and was a core member of the team that pioneered the development of an aerosol thermodynamics model that has become the prime model of choice for atmospheric modelling worldwide. He suggested the revolutionary concept of using volatility to circumvent the compositional complexity of organic aerosol formation, which has reshaped this area of research and evolved into the widely used Volatility Basis Set. This rethinking of the treatment of organic aerosol formation has opened new research directions and had long-term implications on air-pollution policy.
Pandis is the co-author of the book that currently represents the cornerstone publication for any researcher who enters the field of atmospheric research. This book has inspired generations of students, with an outstanding compilation of the state of the art. He has initiated and efficiently coordinated two major field campaigns that demonstrated the importance of long-range transport and biosphere-atmosphere feedback mechanisms for the formation of secondary aerosols.
Pandis is a leader in aerosol science worldwide, seeding several new research areas with profound impact on our understanding of how humans affect air quality and climate. For his groundbreaking scientific achievements, his outstanding mentoring of many young scientists and engineers worldwide, and his pioneering contributions at the interface between atmospheric sciences and policy, Spyros Pandis is a highly deserving recipient of the 2021 Vilhelm Bjerknes Medal.