Lester Machta, the former director of the NOAA Air Resources Laboratory and an AGU Fellow, died August 31, 2001, of leukemia. For more than half a century, he led pioneering research programs in air quality that addressed some of the key environmental issues of our times, and he did so with a rare devotion to both science and public service. He had been an AGU member since 1950 (Atmospheric Sciences).
A native New Yorker, he obtained a B.A. in mathematics (cum laude) from Brooklyn College and, after the war, he completed an M.S. in meteorology at NYU and an ScD. in meteorology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology