Dr. Armin Sorooshian, University of Arizona (UA) Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering and UA Superfund Research Program (UA SRP) investigator, has been named the 2018 College of Engineering da Vinci Fellow. Sorooshian calls it a “very prestigious, humbling honor.”
The da Vinci Fellowship is awarded to one member of the College of Engineering faculty each year who demonstrates talent and resourcefulness and to “recognize and nurture 21st-century renaissance in science and engineering”.
Sorooshian works with aerosols, studying how aerosol particles affect the atmosphere and human health. Aerosolized contaminants are a cause for concern, because contaminants can move much more rapidly through the air than any other medium.
“Pollutants from China can travel over to Arizona in the course of a week, so that’s a very long distance.” “It would be impossible for a contaminant to move that fast in water or in the soil or in plants. Only air can do that. Aerosols are a really important, under-studied way of how contaminants move in our environment,” said Sorooshian.
Sorooshian plans to use this award to help bring more students into the field with him. “It’s really exciting, eye-opening work when we go out to the field and we do measurements on airplanes and travel to different parts of the world,” Sorooshian said. “This award will help me take more students out and get them involved.”
The nature of aerosols make Sorooshian’s work interdisciplinary. Although he is in the Chemical and Environmental Engineering Department, he works with researchers in the Departments of Atmospheric Sciences, Public Health, Soil Water and Environmental Sciences, the College of Pharmacy, and the College of Medicine.
Sorooshian doesn’t just reach out to those at the UA. He has, for example, interviewed with NPR stressing that collaboration and public outreach are vital.
“We go into our own little corners with our students and get really deep into really narrow science topics, and what good is it if you can’t explain it to the general public?” Sorooshian said.
He says that the support he has received from UASRP has been a “critical part” of his success.
“I’m extremely appreciative of the Superfund program for supporting me in various ways,” Sorooshian said. “I’m always extremely appreciate of people like, earlier on, Jay Gandolfi and now, of course, Raina Maier, all these folks who helped support me.”
Congratulations to Armin Sorooshian for being named the 2018 da Vinci Fellow!