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McDonnell Scholar Blog: Discussing Air Quality

Sharma finds an opportunity to relate his PhD experience to global challenges in the field of health, energy, and environment and agriculture.

Improving air quality is a challenge in Beijing and much of Asia.

In the middle of a busy semester at Washington University in the 4th year of my PhD on understanding nanoparticles formation and growth in flames, I get this unique opportunity to visit Beijing, China. Finally, there is something to pull me out of the nano-world of my PhD, and relate them to the global challenges in the field of health, energy, and environment, and agriculture.

Last symposium, which was 2 years back, is still fresh in my memory. Indeed, holding koalas and kangaroos in Australia is not very easy to forget. Moreover, the discussions between industry leaders, academicians, and students from all over the world gave me a lot of knowledge about the importance of collaboration, and working together with a diverse group. Gearing up for Beijing Symposium, I am looking forward to the goal of solving the complex global problems on an international stage.

Girish Sharma_headshot

Girish Sharma, McDonnell Scholar from the School of Engineering & Applied Science (PhD)

Coming from India, a developing economy and geographical neighbor of China, we share many similar problems, particularly in the areas of energy, and environment. The air pollution in the cities of Beijing and New Delhi is quite alarming to the health of the residing people. Therefore, the plenary sessions, panel discussions, and workshops focusing on the problems of air pollution, and control technologies are on the top of my agenda.

The problem of air pollution does not only take the engineers who find a technology to solve the problem, but there is a big role played by policy makers, government, and industry folks. This is a global problem, and needs intervention from people from wide expertise to come together as one, to solve it. Symposium will be the best platform to interact, network, and collaborate with the right people to make an impact on this global issue.

Workshop on MAGEEP-McDonnell Academy Global Energy and Environmental Partnership of 35 universities is another very interesting event. I am volunteering to organize the workshop. As a part of MAGEEP, we have also created an Aerosol Doctoral Student Network, which includes graduate students from 10 different partner universities. We are planning to have a meet up to discuss the research problems, future opportunities to do collaborative research, and definitely have some fun at the symposium.

Needless to mention, that there will be a lot of fun at the Forbidden City, Great Wall of China, Buddhist temples, combined with some great food, and pandas!! Another tick mark on my bucket list. For the details of what really happens, you will have to wait till 11th October – the opening day of the symposium.