Carnegie Mellon University
September 16, 2022

Donahue wins ACS Award for Creative Advances in Environmental Science and Technology

Neil Donahue,  the Thomas Lord Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Chemical Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy, has been selected to receive the 2023 American Chemical Society (ACS) Award for Creative Advances in Environmental Science & Technology. The award recognizes creativity in research and technology or methods of analysis to provide a scientific basis for informed environmental control decision-making processes.

Donahue is being recognized for developing the "Volatility Basis Set," which has become one of the main tools to understand and describe the chemistry and physics of organic aerosols in the atmosphere. "The VBS came out of collaboration between experimental and modeling colleagues across CMU — Allen Robinson in mechanical engineering, Spyros Pandis in chemical engineering, and Peter Adams in civil and environmental engineering as well as engineering and public policy," Donahue said. "Their really different perspectives stirred the pot, and the VBS emerged in large part from me trying to understand it all. The award is a huge honor, and it is a real testament to the power of collaborative research."

Donahue directs the Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research. Donahue's research examines the behavior of organic compounds in Earth's atmosphere, studying what happens to compounds from both natural sources and human activity when they are emitted into the atmosphere. Donahue will be honored at the ACS award ceremony March 28, 2023, in Indianapolis.