Newsletter No.7 July-1999@

  In this Newsletter, we introduce, in a successive manner, the global change research institutes in the world. For the sixthin this series, Dr.S.Lan Smith, who has been participating in the Global Warming Research Program since last June, introduces the Environmental Engineering and Water Resources Program(EEWR).

The Environmental Engineering and Water Resources Program (EEWR)
Princeton University
Princeton,NJ 08544,U.S.A.
web page:

  Before joining the Global Warming Group at FRSGC, I was a graduate student in the Environmental Engineering and Water Resources Program at Princeton University, where my research advisor was professor Peter R.Jaffe.

  Research themes in the EEWR program include: aquatic chemistry and biology; geomicrobiology; measuring and modeling the fate and transport of chemical contaminants in the environment; hydroclimatology (measuring and modeling the hydrological cycle and its effects on climate); numerical modeling (including development of new numerical schemes and of theoretical models of pore-scale processes such as multi-phase fluid flow); studies of the statistical distributions of storm events and of rainfall; and others (for detailed descriptions of research projects, please see the web page: ).

  My thesis research there focused on developing a model of the speciation and mobility of trace metals in water-saturated sediments as effected by the biodegradation of organic substrates (such as natural organic matter and spilled hydrocarbons). Although my own work was primarily focused on fresh water systems (sediments at the bottoms of lakes and rivers), I learned a great deal from studying the work of several researchers who focused on biodegradation and carbon cycling in marine sediments. Thus, I became more interested in issues related to the marine, and to the global, cycles of carbon and nutrients. As I was nearing the end of my time in graduate school, I also became more interested in research questions posed by anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions and the possibility of global warming. This interest stemmed in part from lectures sponsored by our department, by the Center for Energy and Environmental Studies, by the Geosciences department, by the Princeton Environmental Institute, by the Woodrow Wilson School (for public policy studies) and by other departments on campus. I was lucky enough to work with supportive faculty members, most notably my advisor Peter Jaffe, who encouraged me to pursue such interests.

Landscape at Princeton University
(taken by S.Lan Smith)

  Luckily, I found a job announcement (in the American Geophysical Union's EOS newsletter), and I ended up here at FRSGC. I feel quite lucky to be working with the brilliant researchers here,who are also interesting and fun people to know.
  I have been surprised by how closely my work here, trying to develop a model of the settling and remineralization of particulate organic carbon (POC) in the oceans, relates to things that I studied in graduate school. It is satisfying to be able to apply some of what I studied to at least a small part of a huge question: "Can we humans expect our emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere to increase our planet's temperature? and if so by how much?"

  Addressing this global question, which entails quantifying the combined effects of a multitude of biological, chemical and physical processes, requires an interdisciplinary approach. One strength of the EEWR program is its interdisciplinary nature, facilitating research collaboration among various academic departments. I believe that places like EEWR can provide valuable training to graduate students, particularly for addressing global research questions such as those that we try to tackle here at FRSGC. Besides this, the atmosphere maintained by the supportive faculty members, who treat graduate students as colleagues, does a great deal to make the whole graduate student experience rewarding and even fun!--well, at least sometimes.

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