FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | September 25, 2012

“The Dust Queen’s” research stars in new American Chemical Society video

WASHINGTON, Sept. 25, 2012 — A new episode in the American Chemical Society’s (ACS’) popular Prized Science video series features insights into the effects of wind-blown dust on human health and climate from Vicki Grassian, Ph.D. She has jokingly been called “the Dust Queen” and is a noted authority on the tiny particles of sand and dirt, termed mineral dust, that are transported from areas as remote as the Sahara Desert.

The video, produced by the ACS, the world’s largest scientific society, is available at and by request on DVD. Prized Science — Vicki Grassian: Making Sense of Atmospheric Dust is the newest episode in the 2012 Prized Science series, which features the science behind some of ACS’ national awards.

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ACS encourages educators, schools, museums, science centers, news organizations and others to embed links to Prized Science on their websites. The videos discuss scientific research in non-technical language for general audiences. New episodes in the series, which focuses on ACS’ 2012 national award recipients, will be issued periodically.

Grassian received the 2012 ACS Award for Creative Advances in Environmental Science and Technology. She is an F. Wendell Miller Professor at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. The award, sponsored by the ACS Division of Environmental Chemistry, recognizes Grassian’s research on the role of mineral dust in atmospheric chemistry, climate and health and on developing better models depicting its likely effects. For example, Grassian discovered that nitrous oxide — which may be a more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide — can form during chemical reactions on the surface of dust particles. Grassian explains that dust in the atmosphere also is linked to respiratory and heart diseases.

Previous episodes in the 2012 series featured Robert Langer, Sc.D., and Chad Mirkin, Ph.D. ACS recognized Langer for pioneering work in making body tissues in the lab by growing cells on special pieces of plastic. Mirkin’s research is providing patients with faster diagnoses for influenza and other respiratory infections and new tests that improve care for heart disease.

Upcoming episodes feature:

  • Diane Bunce, Ph.D.: George C. Pimentel Award in Chemical Education
  • Peter Wolynes, Ph.D.: ACS Award in Theoretical Chemistry

The 2012 edition of Prized Science is completely refreshed, with a new look and feel, with renowned scientists telling the story of their own research and its impact and potential impact on everyday life. Colorful graphics and images visually explain the award recipient’s research.

The ACS administers more than 60 national awards to honor accomplishments in chemistry and service to chemistry. The nomination process involves submission of forms, with winners selected by a committee consisting of ACS members who typically are technical experts in the nominee’s specific field of research.

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