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August 1, 2012

UMBC physics professor receives NASA’s Distinguished Public Service Medal

August 1, 2012

Contact: Nicole Ruediger, communications manager
Phone: 410-455-5791

Contact: Raymond Hoff, professor of physics
Phone: 410-455-1943

UMBC physics professor, Raymond Hoff will be awarded NASA’s Distinguished Public Service Medal in a ceremony tomorrow at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The medal is NASA’s highest form of recognition awarded to any non-government individual whose distinguished service, ability, or vision has personally contributed to NASA’s advancement of the United States’ interests. Previous recipients have included Carl Sagan and Robert Heinlein.

Hoff is receiving the medal “for distinguished service and leadership in Earth observations and their application for societal benefit.”

Hoff, says NASA, is on the forefront of bringing NASA satellite data to bear on air quality applications. Even though the use of NASA satellite observations to advance scientific understanding is fundamental, the application of these observations for society’s benefit continues to be a difficult challenge.

For example, Hoff was involved in one of the first efforts to put satellite information into the hands of forecasters so that they could predict air quality. The Infusing satellite Data into Environmental air quality Applications (IDEA) website was established at Langley in 2003. Once it was established Hoff then expanded IDEA's satellite products and capabilities. He oversaw IDEA’s transition from a manual to an automatic operational framework at NOAA, and still serves as a primary technical contact.

The UMBC Smog Blog (, another resource established in 2004 by Hoff continues to thrive as well. The web site, which had over 50 million hits during its first 8 years, is a successful tool for putting satellite information into the hands of decision makers and the general public.


Raymond Hoff is a Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He is the Science Advisor for the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology. Dr. Hoff has 37 years of experience in atmospheric research. His research interests are in the optical properties of aerosols and gases in the atmosphere. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in physics at the University of California Berkeley in 1970 and a Ph.D. in physics from Simon Fraser University in 1975.

Posted by nruedige at August 1, 2012 11:27 AM