Barbara Finlayson-Pitts to Receive American Chemical Society Award


The American Chemical Society (ACS) has announced that Professor Barbara Finlayson-Pitts of the University of California, Irvine, will receive the 2004 Award for Creative Advances in Environmental Science and Technology. Dr. Finlayson-Pitts and her research group were the first to demonstrate that sea salt aerosols could be sources of reactive chlorine in the troposphere. Using spectroscopic methods on sea salt aerosols in the laboratory, the group demonstrated that in the presence of ultraviolet light and ozone chlorine radicals could be produced. Long known to be important in the stratosphere, chlorine radicals are potentially important in acting to add or remove ozone in the troposphere depending upon the amounts of reactive organics that are present. Following those observations, measurements in the field have also confirmed the presence of molecular chlorine in seashore environments consistent with the hypothesis set forth by Finlayson-Pitts and her colleagues. Her research group has also led the way in identification of key marker compounds for chlorine atom addition to isoprene, an important biogenic hydrocarbon. It has also led to the study of heterogeneous chemical reactions of aerosols and their interactions with oxides of nitrogen. These advances in atmospheric chemistry will enable climate scientists to more accurately evaluate the role of sea salt aerosols in climate forcing. Much of Dr. Finlayson-Pitts’ research has been sponsored by the Department of Energy (DOE) Atmospheric Science Program and involves active collaborations with scientists at the DOE Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory. The ACS award will be presented March 30, 2004, at the ACS 2004 Annual Meeting in Anaheim, CA. Previous recipients include current ASP grantees John Seinfeld, Mario Molina, and Roger Atkinson.