Joseph Kaplan exhibits both of the criteria for the Fleming Award. His research investigations in upper atmospheric processes opened up and illuminated this large area of investigation; his scientific leadership at home and abroad in a host of major endeavors, particularly over the last two decades, has contributed enormously to the advance of geophysics and related sciences.
His own research began with the laboratory production of the green auroral line in chemiluminescence at Princeton in 1927, and thereafter he succeeded in producing some of the most important features of the spectra of aurora and airglow in the laboratory. This work made him one of the first to recognize the importance of chemical kinetics in the processes at play in the upper atmosphere. His former Ph.D. students now represent some of our outstanding atmospheric scientists, whose investigations have ranged from the physics of ionized gases to motions in the high atmosphere.