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05-07-2016

Philip Hopke Named Professor Emeritus at Clarkson University

Professor Philip K. Hopke, director of the Center for Air Resources Engineering and Science (CARES), was named professor emeritus at Clarkson University's 123rd Commencement on May 7. He was honored for more than 25 years of exemplary service to the University.

Philip K. HopkeRenowned internationally as a preeminent researcher in atmospheric and aerosol science and engineering, Hopke will retain the title of the endowed chair that he held at Clarkson for 13 years – he will be the Bayard D. Clarkson Distinguished Professor Emeritus.

Hopke has served in multiple leadership roles at Clarkson, including chair of the Department of Chemistry, dean of the Graduate School, founder and director of the Center for Air Resources Engineering and Science (CARES) and, most recently, founder and first director of the Institute for a Sustainable Environment (ISE). In addition, he has provided substantial professional service and research contributions in the field of air quality and air resources.

Hopke himself admits that it's difficult to select the high points of his career, saying he has accomplished “different things of consequence at different times” but he points to his research on “sources of air pollution, the characterization of decay products of radon, and some good contributions toward trying to improve ways people use wood pellets as a fuel.”

He says, “A good background in my undergraduate and graduate education allowed me to take advantage of good opportunities. I've been able to work with interesting people on interesting things. That's been the crux of it all.”

As a simple description of the flow of his interesting studies, he did his doctoral research in the chemistry department at Princeton on low-energy nuclear physics. Then he did post-doctoral research at MIT, using the same spectroscopic methods on airborne particle composition measurements. In 1965, new technology was developed so researchers had to redo their work to see finer details. “It made things fun and we got a lot of work done,” Hopke says.

In 1975, he saw a request for proposals from the U.S. Bureau of Mines to study radon decay products and particles. He partnered with a fellow scientist, leading him to perform research on aerosol particles.

His interest in air quality prompted him to undertake a number of projects, which since 1999 have attracted substantial financial support from NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority). With NYSERDA support, he began to study wood burning in high efficiency, low emissions European pellet boilers in 2008.

Retirement will look a lot like his current activities. He still has multiple funded projects in progress, and just submitted two more proposals, he says. Also, he recently was appointed adjunct professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

“I'm not going to stop solving puzzles, but I can stop going to committee meetings and focus on interesting projects,” he notes happily. “I've been invited back next year to Beijing, Russia, and other places to work with interesting people on interesting problems.”

According to the letter nominating him as Bayard D. Clarkson Distinguished Professor Emeritus, in 2015 alone, Hopke has been a principal investigator or co-principal investigator on more than $2.8 million of successful grants to continue research related to air emissions and human exposure from wood pellet boilers and monitoring pollutants in Great Lakes fish. He also published 28 papers in 2015. With 2016 acceptances, his total has increased to 594 journal papers, which may well be a record for Clarkson University.

Hopke's tireless work has earned him a long list of honors, including these more recent ones: 2015 Arthur C. Stern Distinguished Paper Award, Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association with Eugene Kim and Eric Edgerton; 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award from Chemometrics in Analytical Chemistry Conference; 2008 elected as a Fellow of the American Association for Aerosol Research; 2007 elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science;  2007 Eastern Analytical Symposium Award for Outstanding Achievements in Chemometrics;  2006 elected to Membership in the International Statistics Institute; 2006 International Aerosol Fellow of the International Aerosol Research Assembly; and 2004 David Sinclair Award of the American Association for Aerosol Research.

Hopke received his bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Trinity College. He received his master of arts degree and his Ph.D., both in chemistry, from Princeton University.

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 http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/phopke2.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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