• Question: how will your work make a difference to the world?

    Asked by Rebecca to John, Shikha, Triona on 12 Nov 2014. This question was also asked by Megan.d, 464bera37.
    • Photo: John Wenger

      John Wenger answered on 12 Nov 2014:

      Hi Rebecca,

      What a good question!
      I suppose there are a few relevant things that I do…My research is on understanding the chemical reactions that can lead to air pollution. In the lab we can study the chemistry of individual chemical species one-by-one and work out how they contribute to air pollution and other atmospheric effects like climate change or ozone depletion. For example, we have looked at the reactions of different chemicals released from car exhausts to see how they form smog in the atmosphere. This helps identify the chemicals with the biggest impact and then we can work with national and international agencies, like the EPA to change things (e.g. fuel composition) to reduce emissions of these damaging chemicals. We also make measurements of air pollution in the real atmosphere. The main aim here is work out the different sources of the pollution and then advise the EPA on how to reduce these emissions, e.g. by banning smoky coal.
      Much of this research is not just related to Ireland….we have done measurements in Paris, Barcelona, Dunkirk, Corsica and even on board a ship! In Paris we found out that wood burning is a quite large source of air pollution and now the French government is going to bring a ban on “open fireplace burning”….i.e. they have to use stoves which burn much more efficiently and produce less pollution.

      All the best


    • Photo: Shikha Sharma

      Shikha Sharma answered on 19 Nov 2014:

      Hi Rebecca, Megan.d, 464bera37,

      That’s a really good question….Cancer is a disease which is killing number of people across the world. The only way to reduce the number of deaths from cancer is to detect it at an early stage. And I am trying to develop that one device only which can help millions of people to see tomorrow.