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ACS Award for Creative Advances in Environmental Science & Technology: Douglas R. Worsnop

by Linda Wang
January 2, 2017 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 95, Issue 1

Douglas R. Worsnop
Credit: Courtesy of Douglas Worsnop

Photo of Douglas R. Worsnop.
Credit: Courtesy of Douglas Worsnop

Sponsor: ACS Division of Environmental Chemistry, Environmental Science & Technology, and Environmental Science & Technology Letters

Citation: For pioneering research on gas-aqueous atmospheric chemistry and the development of the aerosol mass spectrometer, which has revolutionized atmospheric aerosol measurements.

Current position: vice president, Aerodyne Research; professor of physics, University of Helsinki

Education: B.A., chemistry, Hope College; Ph.D., chemistry, Harvard University

Worsnop on what gets his creative juices flowing: “My motivation is simple–interacting with young people (students and postdocs), seeing new data, figuring out what makes sense and what doesn’t, then designing the next experiment. Sometimes even presenting results and interpretations, either orally or in manuscripts. I have been ‘doing’ physical chemistry experiments for over 40 years and am still driven as much as ever to invent, improve, and make the next ones work better. These days I do little ‘real’ work myself. Rather it is students and postdocs who do the work. It is those interactions that keep me going, with as much excitement and drive as I had as a student, now dedicated to atmospheric aerosol chemistry and physics.”

What his colleagues say: “Doug, his group, and his collaborators worldwide have created a new paradigm for applying mass spectrometry in atmospheric science, from laboratory chambers and flow reactors to ambient sampling on ground, mobile, and airborne platforms. The Aerodyne mass spectrometry group has delivered 250 mass spectrometry systems that are in active application, across the globe. Doug’s leadership has been crucial in training atmospheric scientists in instrument operation, data analysis, and science publication of chemical composition and processing of gases and condensed species underlying suspended aerosol in the atmosphere.”—John H. Seinfeld, California Institute of Technology



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