Matthew Elrod of the Hope College chemistry faculty has been named the college's third "Towsley Research Scholar."
The award was announced during the college's
annual Faculty Recognition luncheon, held on Monday, Jan.
The Towsley Research Scholars Program is funded
through an endowment made possible through a grant from the
Harry A. and Margaret D. Towsley Foundation of Midland. The
foundation's previous awards to the college have included
grants for the construction of the Van Wylen Library,
faculty development in the pre-medical sciences and support
for an endowed chair in communication.
Through the Towsley Research Scholars Program,
newer Hope faculty members receive support for a research
project for four years. An additional scholar will be
appointed each year, up to a maximum of four at a time. The
first two scholars are David K. Ryden of the political
science faculty and J. Jeffery Tyler of the religion
faculty, named recipients in 1997 and 1998 respectively.
The award will support Elrod's on-going research
on atmospheric ozone chemistry, work that he conducts with a
team of Hope chemistry students.
According to Elrod, the detailed nature of the
chemical reactions that control ozone levels in the
atmosphere has not been fully investigated. One challenge,
he noted, is that about 400 different chemical reactions are
occurring in the atmosphere simultaneously.
He explained that to understand how they
interrelate and eventually lead to changes in ozone levels,
the reactions must be studied individually in a controlled
laboratory setting. The individual results can then be
compiled and predictions for the entire atmosphere can be
generated with computer models.
Elrod is studying a particular class of reactions
involving the methylperoxy radical molecule which are
suspected to play an important role in ozone chemistry.
Elrod, who is an assistant professor of chemistry,
joined the Hope faculty in 1996. He was previously a
postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology in the departments of chemistry and earth,
atmospheric and planetary sciences.
External support for his research on ozone
depletion has included a "Cottrell College Science Award"
from Research Corporation; a "Seed Grant" from the Michigan
Space Grant Consortium; a grant from the American Chemical
Society, through its Petroleum Research Fund; and a grant
from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Inc., through
the "Camille and Henry Dreyfus Faculty Start-up Grant
Program for Undergraduate Institutions."
Elrod graduated from Grinnell College in 1989. He
earned his doctorate from the University of California at
Berkeley in 1994.