Joe Farman, who discovered the hole in the ozone layer, dies

Joe Farman found the hole over Antarctica using old-fashioned equipment like weather balloons.

British scientist Joe Farman's discovery of a hole in the ozone layer led to drastic changes in how we view our planet.

Farman died Saturday at age 82, the British Antarctic Survey, or BAS, said. They did not specify a cause.


BAS said in a news release that Farman was responsible for "one of the biggest environmental discoveries of the 20th century."

According to The Telegraph, Farman found a hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica using old-fashioned methods like weather balloons.

Scorned at first, Farman's finding in 1985 eventually led to changes we now take for granted, including a ban on chlorofluorocarbons — a gas used in refrigerators and aerosol sprays. It also yielded numerous awards for Farman, including an Environment Medal from the Society of Chemical Industry.

"Joe was an excellent physicist and his work changed the way that we view the natural world," BAS interim Director Alan Rodger said in the news release.

"After making the discovery of the ozone hole he became an energetic ambassador for our planet," Rodger said.

BAS said Farman spent two winters doing research in the Argentine Islands and worked in Antarctica from 1958-1959 as a base commander. He returned to Antarctica for field work in 1971.

BAS said Farman took his last research trip to Antarctica in 1990 before retiring that year. After retiring, however, he continued working in Cambridge University's department of chemistry.