Carnegie Mellon University
August 09, 2017

Chemistry Graduate Student Qing Ye Runner-Up for Atmospheric Sciences Award

The Desert Research Institute has named chemistry graduate student Qing Ye the runner-up for the Peter B. Wagner Memorial Award for Women in Atmospheric Sciences. The award is presented to a woman pursuing a graduate degree in atmospheric sciences or a related program at a university in the United States.

Ye is a fifth year graduate student conducting research on aerosols, tiny liquid or solid particles that pervade the atmosphere. Aerosols come from hundreds of different types of sources, including volcanoes, trees, cars and power plants. They get chemically transformed in the atmosphere, which turns them into anonymous mixtures of thousands of molecules. Ye is working to unravel what happens when two types of atmospheric particles—those emitted by natural sources, like trees, and those given off by human activity, like combustion—interact and mix.

Ye received the second-place award for her manuscript “Mixing of secondary organic aerosols versus relative humidity.” The work showed that semi-volatile organic compounds can readily diffuse into the billions of tiny atmospheric particles that inhabit the air, easily moving among them. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provide greater understanding into how organic particles behave in the atmosphere. Learn more here.

Ye works in Carnegie Mellon’s Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies and is the first student in the joint Ph.D. program in Chemistry and Engineering and Public Policy. She works under the guidance of her co-advisors, Professor Neil Donahue and Associate Profesor Ryan Sullivan.

The Peter B. Wagner Memorial Award for Women in Atmospheric Sciences was established by his widow, Sue Wagner, in 1998. Wagner was an atmospheric scientist and faculty member at the Desert Research Institute who was killed while conducting research. The plane crash that took his life also claimed the lives of three other institute employees.