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In the 1970s, he was the first to retrieve ice samples from a remote tropical ice cap and analyze them for ancient climate signals.Nearly 30 years later, with vast refinements in both techniques and technology, this Ohio State team continues its basic mission to drill through many of the world's pristine ice fields and rescue the data trapped inside."These key people have devoted their careers to this work and they share equally in any awards it may bring," Thompson said.Apprentices -- undergraduate and graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows - have begun their research careers as part of this research program.We are truly fortunate to have him on the faculty at Ohio State, where he brings renown to the university and educational benefits to the many students who have had the privilege of working with him and Ellen," Holbrook said.As a boy raised in the rural West Virginia railroad mining town of Gassaway, Lonnie awed local residents with his uncanny ability to predict the weather, a knack at forecasting that usually surpassed the professional forecasters in the region.
Lonnie and Ellen both served as advisers to former Vice President Al Gore in the production of his 2006 documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth." Gore said, "Lonnie Thompson's research has yielded some of clearest, most definitive evidence of the dangerous state of global climate change that we're all facing.
"In many ways, teaching these future scientists is just as important as the discoveries we have made," explains Ellen.
"They will be the ones to carry this work forward in the decades to come." Massive refrigerated storage rooms at Ohio State currently store more than four miles of the four-inch-diameter cores for future analysis.
Over the years, Lonnie and Ellen have built an exceptional team of researchers at the Ohio State's Byrd Polar Research Center to carry out this work.
Among them, Mary Davis, Ping-Nam Lin, Victor Zagorodnov and Henry Brecher who have collectively amassed 86 years both, on expeditions and in the lab, unlocking secrets trapped in the ice.
Thompson is one of eight researchers who will receive the award later this summer during a formal ceremony at the White House.