Former Aerosol Discipline Team Leader, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Yoram Kaufman received a Ph.D. (1979) in Physics from Tel Aviv University. He subsequently worked as a research scientist and highly-regarded Senior Fellow at Goddard Space Flight Center from 1979 to 2006. His interests centered on remote sensing of atmospheric aerosols and their effects on the Earth's climate. As an original member of the MODIS science team he pioneered the determination of aerosol optical properties over land surfaces using MODIS' unique spectral and spatial characteristics, expanding previous determinations of aerosol loading from space focused solely on aerosols over ocean. Since most aerosol sources are over land, their concentration and widespread variability was important to characterize. From 1997 to 2001, Kaufman also served as Project Scientist for the Terra mission, the first of three "flagship" satellites in NASA's Earth Observing System. Kaufman oversaw the science aspects of the mission in the critical days leading up to and following Terra's launch. He passed away unexpectedly from a tragic bicycle accident in 2006.