Ralph J. Cicerone was born in New Castle, Pennsylvania, on May 2, 1943. He received his bachelor's degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1965 and earned his master's degree (1967) and Ph.D. (1970) from the University of Illinois.
Cicerone began his career at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he was on the Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty from 1971 to 1978.
He first came to the University of California in 1978 as a research chemist at UC San Diego's Scripps Institute of Oceanography. From 1980 to 1989 he held the position of Senior Scientist and Director of the Atmospheric Chemistry Division of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.
Cicerone joined UCI's faculty in 1989 as Daniel G. Aldrich Professor, founding the newly formed Earth System Science Department, which has since risen to global prominence. In 1994 he became department Chair and then served as Dean of Physical Sciences from 1994 to 1998.
A distinguished scholar in atmospheric chemistry and global change, Cicerone has been honored by various national and international scientific societies. Most notably, he has received the United Nations Environmental Program Ozone Award and the Albert Einstein World Award in Science. Cicerone's work was acknowledged in the citation for his colleague F. Sherwood Rowland's Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1995.
Cicerone became UCI's fourth Chancellor in 1998. During his seven-year tenure the campus continued to climb in the national rankings, made undergraduate admissions more selective, dramatically increased private fundraising (resulting in new endowments and the naming of several Schools), experienced a community revitalization with more on-campus activities, began construction of a new university hospital, and received its third Nobel Prize.
From 2005 to 2015 Cicerone served as President of the National Academy of Sciences, a position of significant national and global influence for scientific public policy.
Ralph J. Cicerone died on Novermber 5, 2016.
Ralph Cicerone papers. MS-F042. Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California. Accessed Oct. 30, 2017
University of California, Irvine, Chancellor Ralph J. Cicerone records. AS-099. Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California. Accessed Oct. 30, 2017.