Greg Carmichael was completing high school when he became interested in the environment, back in 1970 – the year the federal Clean Air Act was enacted. This interest had an immediate and specific impact on his choice of college major: “I chose chemical engineering to study because I wanted to stop the emissions at the source through the better design of chemical plants,” says Carmichael.
After graduating from Iowa State University, Carmichael went on to graduate school at the University of Kentucky and began exploring the bigger picture – how humans, in their aggregate of individual actions, affect the world around them. This eventually led to a regional focus on development and the environment in Asia.
For nearly three decades, Carmichael, 55, has been on the faculty of the University of Iowa’s College of Engineering, where he is the Karl Kammermeyer Professor in the Department of Chemical & Biochemical Engineering. Since 1992, Carmichael has also been co-director of the Center for Global & Regional Environmental Research (CGRER), which he co-founded with colleague Jerry Schnoor.
In the course of an extensive research career focusing on air quality and its environmental impacts, Carmichael has studied the environmental ramifications of Asian development on that region and the rest of the world, including long-range transport of acidic and photochemical pollutants from Asia. He’s authored more than 220 journal articles and is considered a leader in addressing the problem of the global spread of chemical contaminants and its implications for climate change.
“I came into climate from an air pollution direction, looking for the win-win scenarios to reduce air pollution and global warming,” he explains.
Carmichael’s expertise is recognized from his own institution to China’s largest municipality: he’s a member of the University of Iowa’s Task Force on Energy Conservation, chair of the American Institute for Chemical Engineering’s Environmental Division, and chair of the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau’s Scientific Advisory Group.
“We focus on solid science,” he says, “but always are interested in using our studies to better inform policies.”
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Part of a special report entitled, Degrees of Green: Exploring the State of Iowa’s Environment.
Published by: The Daily Iowan | 05-02-08