NSF awards $160,917 to chemistry Prof. Koehler

The National Science Foundation has announced the award of $160,917 to Birgit G. Koehler, assistant professor of chemistry at Williams College, in support of her project on the “Adsorption of Trace Atmospheric Gases on Soot.”

Koehler is studying the interaction of trace particles with soot under simulated atmospheric conditions. She is especially interested in how soot derived from the exhaust stream of jet fuel affects the chemical balance of the atmosphere such as through the formation of visible condensation trails behind jet aircraft.

Scientists have discovered that sulfur from jet fuel is converted into sulfuric acid more rapidly than would have been predicted with known chemistry a few years ago. Koehler has found that sulfur dioxide adsorbs (sticks) to laboratory-produced soot and will explore whether this is a possible explanation of how the sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere is being converted to sulfuric acid.

Her previous awards include a Cottrell College Science Award, a grant from the Petroleum Research Fund, and an award from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation.

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