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Farmer receives Beckman Young Investigator Award

July 29, 2013

Delphine Farmer, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, is one of seven young scholars who received the 2013 Beckman Young Investigator Award, an honor that helps promote research in chemistry and the life sciences.

“Dr. Farmer is an outstanding and gifted scientist with exceptional intellectual capabilities - the kind that can lead to exciting and innovative advancements that ultimately change the world,” said Ellen Fisher, chair of the Department of Chemistry. “Her proposed innovations to develop a novel, rapid and sensitive analytical detector through the Beckman program will undoubtedly transform our understanding of biological and environmental systems. I am delighted that her talents have been recognized by the Beckman Foundation through their Young Investigator Award.”

Creating new instrumentation

With a background in chemistry and environmental science, Farmer focuses her research on how chemistry in the atmosphere affects climate and the human population. Through the Beckman grant, Farmer’s goal is to build new instrumentation that will be more portable, stable and simpler than the instrumentation atmospheric scientists use now.

“The hope is that we’ll be able to look at many different types of reactive trace gases in the atmosphere more rapidly and with more sensitivity than has previously been possible,” said Farmer.

Further, scientists will be able to use the new instrument to examine the acidity in the atmosphere and understand how it works to affect aerosol particles – and their impacts on air quality and climate, she said.

The instrumentation also will help chemists monitor pollutants by finding patterns in the atmosphere through field measurements. The Farmer group recently returned from participating in the Southern Oxidant and Aerosol Study in Alabama, which aims to better understand the cooling effect occurring in the southern U.S. while other areas of the nation are experiencing a warming effect. Farmer plans to use the instrumentation developed under the Beckman Young Investigator Award in future field studies linking atmospheric chemistry to air pollution and climate.

Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation

The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation makes grants to nonprofit research institutions to promote research in chemistry and the life sciences, broadly interpreted, and particularly to foster the invention of methods, instruments and materials that will open up new avenues of research in science. The Beckman Young Investigators Program is intended to provide research support to the most promising young faculty members in the early stages of academic careers in the chemical and life sciences.