Jim Smith Ph.D.
Dr. Smith's research is centered around the ultrafine particles in the atmosphere as a Scientist II at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.These are particles with diameters smaller than 100 nm, or about a thousandth the diameter of a human hair. Although these particles are very small, they can have huge effects to our health and climate:
-They can trigger severe respiratory problems because they are inhaled deeply into the lungs. The smallest particles even have the ability to pass through cell membranes and thus move from the lung tissue to just about every organ in the body!
-They are also subset of particles upon which cloud droplets form. Understanding their chemical composition will improve our understanding of how clouds form, as well as how human and biogenic activity may influence our climate.
Dr. Smith is an experimentalist, meaning he uses both controlled experiments in my laboratory as well as observations in a variety of locales to study ultrafine particle physical and chemical properties. The most important tool that he uses is called a Thermal Desorption Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometer (TDCIMS).
The TDCIMS was developed in collaboration with Peter McMurry's group at the University of Minnesota. This instrument allows us, for the first time, to measure the chemical composition of particles as small as 4 nm in diameter.
EducationPh.D., 2000, Environmental Science and Engineering, California Institute of Technology; B.S., 1984, Physics, Philosophy Minor, Harvey Mudd College
Career Highlights2004-Present Scientist II, Atmospheric Chemistry Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO
2001-2003 Scientist I, Atmospheric Chemistry Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO
2000-2001 Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Advanced Study Program, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO
1998-1999 Visiting Scientist, Molecular Spectroscopy Group, Division of Atomic Physics, Lund Institute of Technology, Lund, Sweden
1992-2000 Graduate Research Assistant, Environmental Science and Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA
1985-1992 Scientist and Head of Instrument Design Group, Aerometrics, Inc., Sunnyvale, CA
Awards2003 Nominee for NCAR Scientific Technical Advancement Award
2000 Herbert Newby McCoy Award for Outstanding Research in Chemistry, California Institute of Technology
1997-1998 National Research Service Award Training Grant, California Institute of Technology
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