Jian Wang, an atmospheric scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory, has been awarded the Kenneth T. Whitby Award for his work on aerosol science and technology.

The award is given by the American Association for Aerosol Research to recognize outstanding technical contributions to aerosol science and technology by a young scientist. The association honored Wang, 38, of Setauket, for his development and implementation of new techniques that helped measure the air particles in Earth's atmosphere. He also studied the impact that the particles have on the formation of clouds and the climate.

Aerosol science studies the importance of fine solid particles or liquid droplets in air or another gas and the role they play in air pollution, industrial hygiene, atmospheric sciences and nuclear safety.

Wang developed a new instrument for making rapid measurements of aerosol size and distribution called the Fast Integrated Mobility Spectrometer, which helps better understand how aerosols can indirectly influence the formation of clouds.

He also developed theoretical methods that allowed him to use the measurements to understand cloud formation and evaluate how it impacts climate.

According to the association, aerosols emitted by industrial gases, fires and other sources have a profound impact on climate, and affect weather and health.

Scientists hope that precise measurements can help them understand how much of an influence human activities have on cloud-forming aerosols. They are evaluating activities such as burning fossil fuels or fires and attempting to separate them from naturally occurring atmospheric aerosols formed from sea spray and natural plant and animal oils.

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