April 17, 2017

Challenge Will Drive New Caltech Research in Climate Science

Responding to the uncertain state of funding for environmental research and the opportunities afforded by new advances in technology, trustee Ronald Linde (MS ’62, PhD ’64) and his wife, Maxine, have initiated a giving challenge to help ensure that Caltech can maintain current programs and move forward with important new work in climate science.

When the challenge is complete, at least $3 million will be available for scientists and engineers across the Caltech campus who are seeking to better understand Earth’s changing climate.

The Ronald and Maxine Linde Challenge for Climate Science will provide up to $1 million to match gifts, supplying $1 for every $2 committed to amplify research in this area. Gifts and pledges between $25,000 and $250,000 are eligible for the match, but contributions of any amount will help Caltech’s climate science effort. Funds will provide immediate support that Caltech can allocate in the form of research funding for faculty, fellowships for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, and the purchase of new instrumentation.

“To create a more sustainable future, we need both innovative new technologies and a deeper knowledge about Earth’s changing climate,” says Ronald Linde. “Caltech is positioned to make a real difference in this area, and Maxine and I believe that there is an urgent need now for the Caltech community to join together and support this vitally important work.”

Amount the Linde Challenge will generate for climate science research

Uncovering the natural and man-made factors that affect Earth’s climate requires a multidisciplinary effort. Together, Caltech geologists, biologists, chemists, physicists, and engineers are working to describe the history of Earth’s climate, to explore the interplay of ice sheet and ocean dynamics, to study how carbon dioxide affects the productivity of the biosphere and composition of the ocean, to decipher the important influence of clouds and their formation on climate, and to improve the accuracy of climate prediction.

Caltech investigators also are working with partners at JPL to design innovative instruments to make measurements that will better enable our understanding of Earth’s environment and climate. Caltech–JPL teams are launching satellites to measure the global inventories of carbon dioxide, using spectrometer-equipped drones to identify leaking pipelines, and creating autonomous underwater vehicles to explore Earth’s oceans.

The goal is simple: to provide evidence-based science that will help everyone, including policymakers, better understand Earth’s changing climate and develop informed solutions.

“Never before have we understood so much about the complexity of our planet, and still we are on the verge of learning so much more,” says Paul Wennberg, director of The Ronald and Maxine Linde Center for Global Environmental Science and Caltech’s R. Stanton Avery Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Environmental Science and Engineering. “I would like to extend my gratitude to Ron and Maxine for initiating this challenge and enabling Caltech researchers to pursue their investigations with greater freedom and focus.”

Deepening our knowledge about Earth’s climate and helping to devise solutions that create a more sustainable future are priorities of Break Through: The Caltech Campaign, a $2 billion initiative that aims to secure Caltech’s place as a source of transformative discovery for the world. The Linde Challenge aims to sustain and accelerate progress in climate studies by attracting new donors and funding today’s most promising inquiries while Caltech works toward the long-term goal of establishing a permanent $30 million endowment to bolster climate science research.

“Never before have we understood so much about the complexity of our planet, and still we are on the verge of learning so much more.”
- Paul Wennberg

Ronald Linde has been a member of Caltech’s Board of Trustees since 1989. He currently serves as vice chair of the board and as an honorary chair of the Break Through campaign. Ronald and Maxine Linde also are longtime Caltech supporters. In addition to making a gift that helped launch The Linde Center for Global Environmental Science at Caltech in 2008, they have generously enabled Caltech to establish The Ronald and Maxine Linde Institute of Economic and Management Sciences, The Ronald and Maxine Linde Center for New Initiatives, the Ronald and Maxine Linde Leadership Chair in the Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences, the Ronald and Maxine Linde Professorship, and other programs and facilities.

To participate in the Ronald and Maxine Linde Challenge for Climate Science, or to learn more about the match, contact Ellen Jampol, senior director of development for Caltech’s Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, at ejampol@caltech.edu or (626) 395-4374.