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05-07-2016

Pentti Paatero Awarded Clarkson University Honorary Degree

Pentti A. Paatero, principal of YP-Tekniikka Ky, was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree at Clarkson University's 123rd Commencement on Saturday, May 7.

Pentti A. PaateroThe degree was awarded for “his dedication to science and the scientific method; for his commitment to finding the source of harmful pollutants; for transforming data into clear rationales for environmental policy and action; and for his inspirational leadership of his peers, students and future researchers."

Paatero is a specialist in data analysis, a branch of science integrating statistics, computer science and numerical mathematics. He developed PMF, a family of methods for analyzing environmental measurements where airborne amounts of both harmful and harmless substances are measured repeatedly over months or even years.

He aims to determine the sources of harmful pollutants present in atmospheric aerosol particles. Identifying these sources is crucial to addressing environmental concerns and improving air quality.

Paatero’s analytic methods make efficient use of measured multivariate data, reducing the need for repeated tests.

In close co-operation, Paatero and Philip Hopke, professor and director of Clarkson's Center for Air Resources Engineering and Science, jointly authored 30 scientific publications about theoretical and practical aspects of data analytic methods. For 15 years, Paatero made annual visits to Clarkson, where he worked with the University’s faculty on planning new measurements, methods and publications.

Working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Paatero advanced programs that developed analysis of atmospheric measurements. This co-operation continues today. Versions of this collaborative work have been freely available for U.S. and international users.

Recently, co-operation with the European Union Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy, resulted in guidance documents that define recommended practices for analyzing measurements of pollution. This work is currently throwing new light on the old problem of selecting useful variables in environmental analyses.

Clarkson University educates the leaders of the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as an owner, CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. With its main campus located in Potsdam, New York, and additional graduate program and research facilities in the Capital Region and Beacon, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university with signature areas of academic excellence and research directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through more than 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, education, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo and connect discovery and innovation with enterprise.

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/ppaatero.jpg.]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or aharrison@clarkson.edu.]

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