Harold John Annegarn

Harold John Annegarn was elected as an AAS Fellow in 2021. As a fellow, Harold John Annegarn contributes to the development of the Academy’s strategic direction through participation in AAS activities and governance structures. . This gears the Academys vision of transforming african lives through science.

South Africa
Year elected
Geological, Environmental, Earth & Space Sciences

Extraordinary Professor, School of Geo and Spatial Sciences, North West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa; Honorary Associate Professor, China Agricultural University, Beijing; Fellow of the Academy of Science of South Africa

Harold Annegarn is a polymath who has contributed to fundamental and applied sciences across a wide range of scientific disciplines. From his doctoral thesis in nuclear physics, he branched out to become a specialist in atmospheric chemistry, the health effects of air pollution and energy efficiency. Annegarn has published in diverse fields - atmospheric science, climatology, remote sensing, geology, mining, science diplomacy, botany and even an oft-cited paper on the avian biology of vultures. He has risen to international prominence in several fields, having hosted international projects and organised major conferences in nuclear physics, atmospheric sciences, energy and remote sensing.

The true contribution of Annegarn to African and global science has been in his mentoring of graduate students, 28 doctoral and 59 Masters in all. Following South Africa’s political transition in 1994, he deliberately recruited students to address historical inequalities within South Africa and to accept students from elsewhere in Africa, 13 countries all together. Annegarn inducted students into the global scientific community through his research collaborations with the United States, Europe, China and Australia. Annegarn recognised satellite remote sensing as a vital new technology for environmental stewardship and African development, and a field that could provide opportunities for African participation in globally significant science. In addition to academic mentorship, Annegarn provided full financial support for African students and post-doctoral fellows from research grants and earned income. In many cases, mentorship continued beyond graduation, to assist students in launching their careers. Many of his graduates have achieved prominence in their home countries or internationally in academia, government, and industry.