Lelia N. Hawkins, PhD, conducts research in the field of atmospheric chemistry. She studies how atmospheric particles in urban settings (like smog) are transformed as they age, specifically in fog and cloud water. These particles impact the temperature of the earth. Her work is largely concerned with organic compounds in atmospheric particles which (in Los Angeles) come primarily from fossil fuel combustion.
Research in Hawkins’ lab aims to address the general question, “How does air pollution affect climate and anthropogenic climate change?” To address this question, her students work in one of four major areas: (1) ambient measurement of LA air pollution in real time, (2) simulation of brown carbon compounds and their atmospheric changes in bulk samples, (3) mapping local particulate matter with mobile sensors, and (4) simulation of brown carbon compounds in an atmospheric cloud chamber in Paris, France. This work combines traditional analytical techniques with highly specialized equipment and statistical analyses to understand air pollution better.
Hawkins’ doctoral work involved field measurements of atmospheric particles in remote locations such as Barrow, Alaska, and the southeastern Pacific Ocean. She is also interested in aerosol-cloud interactions and how wildfires produce particles.
- Harvey Mudd Magazine, Spring 2016 Clearing the Air
- hmc.edu, 11/13/15 Hawkins to Study Air Pollution with CAREER Grant
- hmc.edu, 7/29/14 Seeing Through the Smog