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assembly and disassembly and other strategies employed to safely degrade and recycle the materials contained in outdated computers so that they don't end up in landfills," she said.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!
Making Oceans Plastic Free - Project tackles the problem of plastic pollution in the oceans
31.05.2017 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung (ZMT)
Nitrogen Oxides Emissions: Traffic Dramatically Underestimated as Major Polluter
31.05.2017 | Universität Innsbruck
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
Germany counts high-precision manufacturing processes among its advantages as a location. It’s not just the aerospace and automotive industries that require almost waste-free, high-precision manufacturing to provide an efficient way of testing the shape and orientation tolerances of products. Since current inline measurement technology not yet provides the required accuracy, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is collaborating with four renowned industry partners in the INSPIRE project to develop inline sensors with a new accuracy class. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the project is scheduled to run until the end of 2019.
New Manufacturing Technologies for New Products
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
22.06.2017 | Life Sciences
22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences
22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences