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Dot Earth Blog: Gone Too Soon – Ralph Cicerone, a Quiet Force for Scientific Progress in a Divisive Climate

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Dr. Ralph Cicerone, a prominent atmospheric chemist, was president of the National Academy of Sciences from July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2016. He died on Saturday, Nov. 5. He was 73. This photograph was taken at the academy in 2006.Credit Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times

See postscripts | I’m saddened to have to mark the death on Saturday of Ralph J. Cicerone, a brilliant atmospheric scientist who skillfully shifted into academic leadership as chancellor of the University of California, Irvine, but really hit his stride through a decade, just ended in June, as president of the National Academy of Sciences.

In that position, Cicerone had a remarkable — and all too rare — habit of listening, and of aiming to maintain a tone of civility, even as the atmosphere around science, and particularly climate science, grew heated and polarized through his time in Washington. He…

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