Carnegie Mellon University
June 11, 2020

Peter Adams Named Head of Carnegie Mellon's Engineering and Public Policy Department

By Daniel Tkacik

Adam Dove
  • College of Engineering
  • 412-268-6792
Peter Adams, a Carnegie Mellon University professor and leading researcher in the field of air quality and environmental policy, has been named head of the Department of Engineering and Public Policy (EPP) at CMU. Adams, who currently serves as interim head of EPP, will immediately transition to department head.

Adams has been a jointly-appointed faculty member in CMU's Department of EPP and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering since 2001. In 2013, Adams was named director of CMU's Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies (CAPS), a cross-campus collaboration and one of the world's leading research groups focused on particulate matter and its effects on global climate and public health.

"EPP is a jewel of CMU's College of Engineering. Peter possesses the drive and deep understanding of EPP's strengths which will enable the department to sustain and build on its historical preeminence," said Bill Sanders, dean of Carnegie Mellon's College of Engineering. "He has demonstrated his strong ability to lead the department after he stepped up to serve as interim head last summer, and I look forward to working closely with him in the coming years."

Adams' research interests lie at the intersection of air quality, climate and energy systems. Viewing these areas through a policy-focused but technically-robust lens, Adams' group has developed air quality models to help inform researchers and policymakers alike. For example, he led the development of a model that provides estimates of the social costs of air pollution — premature mortality risk per unit emissions — which help facilitate considerations of air quality and public health in policy analyses.

Given his expertise in air quality and energy systems, Adams has played a significant leadership role in the Center for Air, Climate, and Energy Solutions, a $10 million Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-funded research center housed at CMU, which has fostered deep collaborations between air quality researchers in the Center and energy systems researchers in the EPP department.

Adams has served on the United States EPA's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee Particulate Matter Review Panel, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee, and the Allegheny County Health Department Air Toxics New Guidelines Proposal Committee.

He is a member of the Air and Waste Management Association, the American Association for Aerosol Research, and the European Geosciences Union.

Prior to his tenure at CMU, Adams received his M.S. and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the California Institute of Technology and his B.S. in chemical engineering from Cornell University.