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 


Isoprene is emitted into the atmosphere in huge amounts (~600Tg/yr), and by mass it is equivalent to the total global methane emissions. Most of that isoprene gets oxidized into carbon dioxide and water. The particular path it takes affects on how hazy it is overhead, how harmful it is to breathe outside,and even as far afield as how much nitrogen might be available to plants. As we study isoprene for its global importance, we hope to arrive at a more full understanding of the fundamental chemical processes that all molecules undergo in the troposphere. 

We have done and probably will continue to do this research among the trees (Alabama, SOAS field campaign), in the sky (Houston, SEAC4RS field campaign), down in basements (L+R Wennberg lab). 

For those of you who are interested in applying to Caltech's ESE grad program, here are some useful observations that helped me make the decision to come here. We're a small program (3-9 students/yr), located in a small school (<1000 undergrad, <1500 grad), surrounded by a non-college, kind of ritzy town. Basically everyone I know came because the research opportunities are awesome. Almost no one I know came because we're near Hollywood, we're near great Chinese food (wayyyy better than Bay Area...) , or because we're 5 minutes walking distance from the only Peet's in all of southern California.