A Breathtaking Challenge: Charting the Course for Cleaner Air

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A Breathtaking Challenge: Charting the Course for Cleaner Air with Faye McNeill and Dan Westervelt moderated by Alex Halliday

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It’s among the top five of health dangers, and it’s everywhere. Air pollution.

According to global health experts, poor air quality causes premature mortality in up to nine million people every year. One third of deaths from stroke, lung cancer, and heart disease are caused by microscopic pollutants in the air that can infiltrate our respiratory and circulatory system, damaging our lungs, heart, and brain.

On Wednesday January 26, join us online for the first Columbia Climate School Earth Series of the year, as two of the school’s world-renowned atmospheric scientists discuss an exciting interdisciplinary project aimed to better understand this threat and help move global policies to clear the air and protect public health.

The Speakers:

V. Faye McNeill is a Professor of Chemical Engineering and Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University and a member of the Earth Institute faculty. She is the principal investigator of the Clean Air Toolbox for Cities Initiative. She joined Columbia in 2007 and received tenure in 2014. She received her B.S. in Ch.E. from Caltech in 1999 and her PhD in Ch.E. from MIT in 2005, where she was a NASA Earth System Science Fellow. From 2005-2007 she was a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Washington Department of Atmospheric Sciences. She received the NSF CAREER and the ACS Petroleum Research Fund Doctoral New Investigator awards in 2009. She was the recipient of the Kenneth T. Whitby Award of AAAR in 2015 and a Mellichamp Emerging Leaders Lecturer in 2018. She is an Associate Editor for ACS Earth and Space Chemistry and was a co-editor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics from 2007-2017. She has served in multiple elected officer positions in AIChE, AAAR, and AGU. She is an appointed member of the IUPAC panel on kinetic data evaluation and the ACS Committee on Environmental Improvement.

Daniel M. Westervelt is Assistant Research Professor at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO). Dr. Westervelt is also an affiliate faculty member of the Columbia University Data Science Institute, an affiliated scientist with NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and an air pollution advisor to the US State Department. He is also a Columbia University Climate and Life Fellow. His current research spans from air quality and climate modeling to deployment and calibration of low cost sensors for air quality. Prior to his faculty position at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, he worked as an Associate Research Scientist at LDEO, and as a Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy (STEP) postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University. He completed his PhD degree in May 2013 in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

The Moderator:

Alex Halliday is the Founding Dean of the Columbia Climate School and Director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute. He joined the Earth Institute in April 2018, after spending more than a decade at the University of Oxford, during which time he was dean of science and engineering. With about 400 published research papers, Halliday has been a pioneer in developing mass spectrometry to measure small isotopic variations, helping to shed light on the birth and early development of our solar system, the interior workings of the Earth, and the processes that affect Earth’s surface environment.

About Us:

The climate crisis is a challenge like no other. Tackling it requires innovative, coordinated, and transdisciplinary approaches from a top university, like Columbia. The Climate School will marshal the University’s strengths in basic disciplines and expand its resources to understand climate and its impact on society.

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