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Breakthroughs in Science


July 17th, 2008

Why, you ask, is Dr. Staci Simonich, Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Toxicology, standing on the rooftop of Peking University during the Olympics, holding a bunch of of white rectangular things?

She’s not competing in the emerging “waving white things” segment of the pentathalon.

Well, maybe she is. And we think she would bring home the gold if so.

But mostly she’s collecting air.

Those white rectangular filters will trap the air that contains particles that contain hydrocarbons, which she will later analyze back at her lab in Corvallis. She’ll be determining which hydrocarbons exist, whether they cause cancer and if the emissions clean-up prior to the Olympic games in Beijing has improved air quality there.

Her study is funded by the Chinese goverment and NSF. Dr. Simonich says she is hopeful that her research will help the Chinese government to better understand how it can control air quality in large cities.

So, if you’re in Beijing sometime in the next month and you see Staci at the games, give her a big high five.

Here’s the press release with way more info.


from OSU News and Communications:

Simonich specializes in studying how pollutants travel through the atmosphere. She runs a lab at OSU that identifies and tracks chemicals, like pesticides, that hitch rides along airstreams that start in Asia and blow across the Pacific Ocean to mountains in the western United States. She also is a member of a National Academy of Sciences committee that studies pollutants entering and leaving the United States.

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