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Title :(Reminder) SEE Tech Talk Series on Air Pollution and Society
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City University of Hong Kong

School of Energy and Environment


SEE Tech Talk Series

on Air Pollution and Society




23 May 2020 (Saturday)


9:30 a.m. – 12:00 n.n.


Online via Zoom


(Remark: Zoom meeting link will be provided to registrants in due course)




Brief Description

SEE has been undertaking cutting-edge research to address urgent energy- and environment-related issues in three categories: (1) sustainable technologies for energy, environment and health, (2) urban atmospheric and aquatic environment and (3) smart and healthy cities. In this SEE Tech Talk, four SEE faculty members will present their latest technologies and methodologies on air pollution measurements, characterizations, modelling, as well as the effects of cooking and COVID-19 on air pollution.



Abstract & Speakers

Topic 1 – The Essential Role of Fundamental Laboratory Studies in Solving Today’s Air Pollution Issues

Dr. Theodora NAH, Assistant Professor, SEE, CityU



Air pollution poses serious impacts on climate, human and ecological health. Addressing today’s most pressing and complex air pollution issues will require a three-legged stool approach of laboratory experiments, ambient observations, and modeling studies. Each leg of the stool is only as stable as the fundamental chemistry that underpins it. This talk will discuss how laboratory studies serve as an essential bridge between ambient measurements and air quality models, and provide the fundamental physics and chemistry of the underlying mechanisms of phenomena observed in the field, which is the basis for generating physically meaningful parameterizations for use in air quality models.


About the Speaker

Dr. Theodora Nah received her Hon. B.Sc. in Chemistry and Mathematics from the University of Toronto, and her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining CityU, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Georgia Institute of Technology. 


Dr. Nah’s research interests are in environmental chemistry, with a focus on understanding chemistry important to atmospheric particulate matter (aerosols) and dissolved organic matter in aquatic ecosystems. Research in the Nah group utilizes a combination of fundamental laboratory studies, field measurements and theoretical modelling to provide a quantitative and molecular-level understanding of how air and water pollutants are produced, transformed within and removed from marine and coastal environments.


Topic 2 – Contribution of Cooking Emissions to Ambient Particulate Matter (PM)

Prof. Chak K. CHAN, Dean and Chair Professor of Atmospheric Environment, SEE, CityU



Cooking has been known to generate a lot of pollutants.  Much attention has been given to the use of solid fuels in less developed regions. However, even in highly developed urban environments such as Hong Kong, cooking, i.e., heating and burning of the oil, spices, and the food itself can produce a lot of VOCs and particulate pollutants.  In this talk, we will discuss some field and lab experiments that help us evaluate the contributions of cooking emissions to ambient PM.   


About the Speaker

Professor Chan obtained B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 1986 and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1992. He joined the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) as Assistant Professor in 1992 and rose to the rank of Professor in 2006. In 2010, he was appointed Founding Head of Division of Environment. He was Professor of Division of Environment and Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at HKUST. He is currently Dean and Chair Professor of Atmospheric Environment in School of Energy and Environment at City University of Hong Kong.

Professor Chan has over 25 years of research experience in air pollution and aerosol science.  He specializes in aerosol water uptake and phase transformation, gas-aerosol interactions and the formation of secondary aerosols in the atmosphere, and laser spectroscopy of aerosols. Professor Chan received Haagen Smit Award of Atmospheric Environment in 2015, Second Prize of the State Natural Science Award in 2010, and First Prize of the Natural Science Award in 2007. He was the first winner of the Asian Young Aerosol Scientists Award.  He was Science Advisor to Secretary of Environment, during his sabbatical at the HKSAR Environment Bureau in 2014.  He served as Editor in Chief of Atmospheric Environment from 2008 to 2019.


Topic 3 – Atmospheric Chemistry Modelling: Objectives, Types, and Applications

Dr. Xuan WANG, Assistant Professor, SEE, CityU



Atmospheric chemistry models simulate atmospheric composition using mathematical expressions of physical and chemical processes, which are responsible for a range of environmental problems including air pollution, climate change, and damage to ecosystem. By testing with atmospheric measurements, models can be used to evaluate and improve current knowledge, and to make future projections for various scenarios. As such, they are fundamental tools for both science and policy. This talk will discuss the objectives, types, and future development of atmospheric chemistry models. Several recent research projects related to air quality and climate will also be briefly introduced as examples of modeling applications.


About the Speaker

Dr. Xuan Wang received his B.Eng. (Environmental Engineering) in 2009 from Nankai University and M.Sc. (Environmental Science) in 2012 from Tsinghua University. He obtained his Ph.D. in Environmental Chemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2017. Prior to joining CityU, he was a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard University. 


Dr. Wang’s research focuses on understanding the chemical composition of the atmosphere and their impact on air quality and climate change. The group uses global and regional models (e.g. GEOS-Chem) with observations (from all scales: ground, drone, aircraft, satellite, etc.) to study the complex interactions between atmospheric chemistry, meteorology, human activities, biogenic processes, air pollution and climate.


Topic 4 – Air Pollution and COVID-19

Prof. Peter BRIMBLECOMBE, Adjunct Professor, SEE, CityU



Lock-down in many cities has led to lower pollutant emissions from traffic and many industries, leading to with a fall in pollutant concentrations, especially the nitrogen oxides.  COVID-19 may also change the emissions during holidays, celebrations and alter the weekly cycle of pollution. In a strange twist the lower levels of pollutants in cities may have saved some lives because of healthier air, although the elderly are likely to be vulnerable to both air pollution and COVID-19. In addition locations that typically have high pollution loads may have populations with enhanced sensitivity to viral infections. More open urban spaces have led to an invasion of new species and these may also benefit from cleaner air.


About the Speaker

Prof. Peter Brimblecombe was born in Australia, but went to university in Auckland, New Zealand where he did a Ph.D. on the aqueous chemistry of sulphur dioxide in the atmosphere. He was until recently a Professor in Atmospheric Chemistry at the University of East Anglia, U.K. and have served as a senior editor of Atmospheric Environment in 1990. He is convinced that environmental pollution is not merely a matter of environmental chemistry. The smells have to be smelt. Painting and poetry can be as informative as a scientific description when trying to understand the complexities of environmental problems. He admires detective writers; no crap and their hearts are in the right place. The title of his book The Big Smoke was meant remind us of Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep, so he was pleased when this academic book was reviewed as “reading like a thriller”. Recently he has been thinking much about the representation air pollution in cinema in films such as Blade Runner. He is really excited to be in Hong Kong as it offers great potential to explore the way we are exposed to air pollutants and consider how such exposures might be reduced.




09:30 – 09:35

Opening Remark

Dr. Denis YU, Associate Professor


09:35 – 10:05

The Essential Role of Fundamental Laboratory Studies in Solving Today’s Air Pollution Issues

Dr. Theodora NAH, Assistant Professor

10:05 – 10:35

Contribution of Cooking Emissions to Ambient Particulate Matter (PM)

Prof. Chak K. CHAN, Dean and Chair Professor of Atmospheric Environment

10:35 – 10:45

Q&A Session 1

10:45 – 10:50


10:50 – 11:20

Atmospheric Chemistry Modelling: Objectives, Types, and Applications

Dr. Xuan WANG, Assistant Professor

11:20 – 11:50

Air-pollution and COVID-19

Prof. Peter BRIMBLECOMBE, Adjunct Professor

11:50 – 12:00

Q&A Session 2


End of Event

Note: Attendance certificates will be issued to attendees after the event upon request. Separate details will be sent to registrants after the event registration deadline.


Please register BELOW



Ms. Zoie Lee

e-mail: or tel: 3442 2411

~All are Welcome~



Venue :Online via Zoom
Category :Academic Seminar
Department/Office :School of Energy and Environment (SEE)
Event Start Date :2020-05-23 09:30   Open and Add event to my calendar
Event End Date :2020-05-23 12:00
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