Alex Teng

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Grad Student

Office: L+R somewhere 

Graduate: Caltech (2011-whenever someone lets me graduate!) 

Undergraduate: U.C. Berkeley, Chemical Engineering, 2004-2008 

Research: Tropospheric ozone is the third highest anthropogenic forcing and acts as both a greenhouse gas and suppressant on carbon uptake by plants. There exists a persistent gap between simulated ozone and measured ozone in the tropics, and the summer North American mid-latitudes (Zhang et al, 2010). Moreover, there is general debate about our general lack of understanding of tropical atmospheric chemistry, and in particular the unexpectedly high concentration of OH radical, a key driver of atmospheric chemistry (Lelievald et al, 2008; Mao et al 20120). These areas are generally dominated by isoprene and other biogenically emitted volatile organic carbons (BVOCs). Not only is ozone production sensitive to isoprene chemistry, the entire gap between simulated ozone and measured ozone can be accounted for by updated isoprene nitrate chemistry (Paulot et al, 2012). Through field and lab measurements using the Caltech CIMS instruments, we hope to constrain and elucidate the importance of isoprene, and other atmospherically relevant mechanisms.

For people thinking about applying to Caltech graduate programs: Caltech is situated in Pasadena, California in a non-college town environment. Caltech's ESE department accepts a wide variety of backgrounds (we have all types of majors from undergrad: microbiology, chemistry, engineering, math, etc.). Also, it's a smaller program (3-9 students a year). We're in a new building. We have access to much better Chinese food than San Francisco Bay Area (I think there's 2 million Chinese people in the LA area), some of the best Mexican (though it gets better as you get closer to Mexico...), plus Hollywood (you can get free tickets to late-night or day-time talk shows!), great hiking/outdoorsy stuff (Mount Baldy, etc.), close to Las Vegas (4 hour drive) and other national parks (Joshua Tree).