Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


UI researcher cites need for a 'small view' of the environment

By thinking small, scientists can solve big environmental problems

That is the message University of Iowa researcher Vicki H. Grassian delivered to colleagues Sunday, Feb. 18, at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Francisco. She urged them to take a molecular view in order to understand problems, find solutions and move the country toward a sustainable society.

As one example, she cited Antarctic ozone thinning -- the "ozone hole" -- as an environmental problem that has already been well understood and alleviated.

"By taking a molecular perspective, scientists saw not only the role of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the problem, but also the role that ice particles play in the stratosphere by catalyzing reactions leading to ozone destruction," Grassian said. "This understanding has led to a ban on CFCs and a predicted stabilization of the ozone hole size and filling in of the hole over the next few decades."

She added that there needs to be more research focused on understanding molecular processes as they apply to a wide range of important environmental issues. "For example, there should be a design function of molecular assembly and disassembly and other strategies employed to safely degrade and recycle the materials contained in outdated computers so that they don't end up in landfills," she said.

Grassian said that her talk and other talks given during the AAAS session on sustainability were intended as a wake-up call to inspire scientific and technological innovations.

Her talk, titled "A Molecular Understanding of the Natural and Human-Impacted Environment: Laboratory Studies of Mineral Dust Aerosol Chemistry and Climate," was delivered during a AAAS session on the "Contributions from Chemical and Molecular Sciences in Achieving a Sustainable Future."

The AAAS session focused on the contributions that basic research in chemistry and related-scientific fields, including engineering and nanoscience, can make toward sustainability. Chemical innovations -- as they relate to sustainability -- have the potential to significantly impact many areas, including pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, and air and water quality, she noted. The session featuring Grassian and National Science Foundation (NSF) Chemistry Division Director Luis Echegoyen focused on several issues including renewable energy and green chemistry, as well as the importance of international collaboration and education in achieving a sustainable future. The session summarized much of a report Grassian co-authored as part of a 2006 NSF workshop she co-chaired with Gerald Meyer of Johns Hopkins University.

Vicki H. Grassian is professor of chemistry in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, professor of chemical and biochemical engineering in the UI College of Engineering, and director of the Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Institute at the University of Iowa (NNI@UI). She joined the UI faculty in 1990 and earned her doctorate in chemistry from the University of California-Berkeley in 1987. She was elected a 2005 AAAS Fellow in the chemistry section for her distinguished contributions to the fields of surface and atmospheric chemistry, most notably for laboratory studies to elucidate complex, heterogeneous reactions involving mineral dust aerosols. Grassian's work has included designing and implementing new laboratory experiments to better understand the link between the chemistry of mineral dust, or soil particles, in the atmosphere and other global processes, including climate and biogeochemical cycles as well as human health. Funding agencies supporting her research include NSF and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Gary Galluzzo | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

For graphite pellets, just add elbow grease

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth

23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm

23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>