Steven Ackerman's extraordinary career as an atmospheric scientist has brought him international renown. Ackerman's research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS), where he is director, has produced new methodologies for interpreting satellite observations of clouds, enhancing Wisconsin's reputation as the birthplace of satellite meteorology.
An internationally prominent agency with over 130 scientists and graduate students, CIMSS works with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to collect weather data from satellites to improve weather and climate forecasting. As a professor and CIMSS director, Ackerman encourages collaboration and the sharing of techniques, data, and expertise in order to foster advances in weather prediction that help save lives and livelihoods worldwide.
Ackerman has collaborated on the development of engaging online learning tools, written an award-winning textbook on introductory weather and climate concepts, and published a number of popular science articles on the subject. He currently serves as the UW-Madison Associate Chancellor for Research covering the physical sciences.
Ackerman has shared his climate insights not only though his research and teaching, but also through his imaginative interdisciplinary connections. His commitment to public science education is reflected in the work he does on weather exhibitions with museums across the country. Travelers at the Dane County Airport can view his work in an art exhibition showcasing satellite images of Wisconsin, and Ackerman can be found discussing weather and climate issues as one of the "Weather Guys" on air at Wisconsin Public Radio and in the pages of the Wisconsin State Journal. His Wisconsin Weather Stories project for K-12 students, developed to generate interest in the science and folklore of weather, garnered acclaim in the form of the 2005 Dorothy Howard Prize for Folklore and Education. Among numerous other awards and honors, Ackerman received NASA's Exceptional Public Service Medal in 2010, the American Meteorological Society's Teaching Excellence Award in 2009, and in 2007 was recognized for his contributions to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was awarded the Nobel Prize that same year.
Ackerman is also the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research in the Physical Sciences at UW-Madison, providing leadership for physical sciences and interdisciplinary research across campus. Ackerman, a professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences, is an expert in the area of satellite meteorology, a field largely invented at UW–Madison. He is well known as an accomplished researcher, teacher and communicator of the science of weather and climate. Ackerman’s OVCRGE responsibilities include: radiation safety (research contact) and reviewing official for physical protection of radioactive material, drone and autonomous vehicles, research grant or contract exceptions (limited to classified research and publication restrictions), export controls, divisional area recruitment and retention, grant matches, research center reviews, faculty awards, Fall Competition awards, and UW2020 awards.