Tuesday, November 7, 2023 - 7:30pm - 8:30pm
224 Oechsle Hall
Melissa Galloway, Associate Professor of Chemistry

"Atmospheric particulate matter: Bridging the gap from the laboratory to our air"

Health crises such as COVID-19 and air pollution events like the spread of Northwestern US and Canadian wildfire smoke have brought air quality to the forefront of national attention in recent years. While these events may seem distinctly different, they both involve small water-containing particles in our air and came to our attention because of their effects on human health and emotional well-being. Each of these microscopic particles can contain tens of thousands of distinct chemical compounds and, despite decades of study, the impacts of particulate matter on human health, climate change, and air pollution still pose some of the most significant uncertainties in atmospheric chemistry. The chemical compounds within these particles can absorb sunlight in our atmosphere, contributing to climate change and causing air pollution events that manifest as haze or smoke. The research in my lab focuses on understanding the chemistry occurring in atmospheric particles. Our goal is to characterize the chemical reactions in simplified laboratory systems and determine how these reactions affect physical properties such as the absorption of sunlight. This knowledge can be extrapolated to more complex systems, such as the atmospheric particles we inhale every day, with the aim of reducing the uncertainty in our understanding of how particulate matter in the atmosphere affects human health, climate change, and air pollution.

The talk is sponsored by the Thomas Roy and Lura Forest Jones Faculty Lecture and Awards Fund, established in 1966 to recognize superior teaching and scholarship at Lafayette College.




Sponsored by: 
Office of the Provost

Contact information

Nancy Williams