Marcel Nicolet (1912–1996)


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A pioneer in the study of atmospheric chemistry and a truly international scientist, Marcel Nicolet died of pneumonia on October 8. A member of AGU since 1959, he was awarded the William Bowie Medal in 1984 for his contributions to the study of the chemistry of Earth's upper atmosphere and for his service from 1953 to 1960 as Secretary General of the Special Committee of the International Geophysical Year.

In the citation for his Bowie Medal, Nicolet was praised for his role in determining photoionization and photodissociation coefficients; elucidating the mechanism for infrared airglow formation; predicting the presence of the atmospheric helium layer; and predicting the presence of NO, NO2, HNO3, HO2, and H2O2 in the atmosphere before they were measured. He also founded in 1964 the Institute for Space Aeronomy in Belgium.