Welcome to the Pratt Lab blog! Dr. Kerri Pratt is an assistant professor in the Departments of Chemistry and Earth & Environmental Sciences and faculty associate of the Program in the Environment at the University of Michigan. We study the chemical interactions of atmospheric trace gases, particles, clouds, and snow, with a focus on the Polar Regions and wintertime environments. Our interdisciplinary research has relevance to climate change, air quality, and human health. As an analytical chemistry lab, we primarily apply novel mass spectrometry techniques to our field research. We invite you to follow our adventures in (and outside!) the lab!
Monday, August 31, 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015
I've been in Barrow for a few weeks now, and have gotten some reminders about what it is like to spend your summer above the Arctic Circle. This time of year, snow has already begun to fall!
On top of the snow, it is light out all day! The sunset is technically listed at 11:20 PM, but it never sets low enough to become very dark. The sun rise and set times change very rapidly up here, and the sun has been setting about five minutes earlier and rising about five minutes later every day.
|The first snowfall since my arrival, covering the path to our lab.|
|This picture is from 12:20 AM. Hopefully Dr. Pratt notices the clock in the picture to see how late I've been working!|
It is summer though, so I made sure to take some time to enjoy some typical summertime activities!
|Me in my beach attire enjoying the Arctic Ocean. I can feel the tan starting already!|
|Even at the top of the world, there is always time for some football. Go Whalers!|
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
On Sunday Prof. Pratt gave an invited talk titled "Diversity of Oxygenated Organic Compounds in Atmospheric Particles and Cloud Water during SOAS" at the ACS Fall Meeting in Boston in the Chemical Processes Involving Atmospherically Relevant Trace Gases, Aerosols, & Clouds symposium. On Monday Prof. Pratt co-organized, with Prof. Amanda Grannas from Villanova University, the ACS Award for Creative Advances in Environmental Science and Technology: Symposium in Honor of Dr. Paul B Shepson and gave a talk titled "Influence of Arctic Leads on Snow Chemistry and Sea Spray Production".
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Prof. Pratt was quoted in a Chemical & Engineering News article about research in Prof. Jamie Donaldson's group at the University of Toronto!
Friday, August 14, 2015
This week, I (Matt Gunsch) left Ann Arbor to begin my trip to Barrow, Alaska. In Barrow, we will be conducting a field campaign, funded by NOAA and DOE and in collaboration with Prof. Rebecca Sheesley's group from Baylor University , to study the atmospheric aerosols emitted during drilling within the Arctic. After stops in Seattle, Anchorage, and Prudhoe Bay, I arrived in Barrow on Wednesday!
The first few days have been spent becoming accustomed to the area and getting equipment set up in our lab located out on the tundra.
After unloading all of the smaller crates and equipment, the first major challenge was moving our ~500 pound A-ATOFMS into the lab. The lab is located a couple hundred feet off of the road in the middle of the tundra, so this was not an easy task. The first step was to get the crated instrument into a truck and driven out to the lab. I've spent the last two years building our A-ATOFMS, so this was a big day!
|My home on the tundra for the next five weeks!|
|Our mass spectrometer (the key to my PhD!) hanging over a puddle!|
|The A-ATOFMS nearing the lab!|
Once the A-ATOFMS arrived at the lab, the challenging part was getting the instrument across the tundra and into the lab.
We enlisted the help of the staff of UIC - Science, and with our combined strength and planning, the instrument made it! Thank you very much to everyone who helped safely move our instrument!
|Removing the A-ATOFMS from the shipping crate. Lots of folks helping!|
|The A-ATOFMS within a sled. The plan was to pull it across the boardwalk and tundra.|
|Made it to the lab! Now for that final step...|
|Our original plans called for a ramp to just roll the instrument into the lab. When that was deemed unfeasible, we went with a more direct approach.|
|After a long journey, the A-ATOFMS is comfortably resting within its new home.|
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
On Friday, August 7th, the University of Michigan Chemistry Department hosted the Karle Symposium, a student organized research symposium showcasing the work of students in the department. Pratt Lab graduate students Matt Gunsch, Nate May, Garrett Welshofer, Stephen McNamara, myself (Rachel Kirpes) and summer rotation student Ryan Cook all presented posters. It was a wonderful opportunity to interact with faculty, postdocs, and other students from the department and share our research. Each student presentation was evaluated by two judges, and Matt's poster, "Construction and Deployment of an Aerosol Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer" and my poster, "Atmospheric Particle Mixing States in the Arctic during the Winter-Spring Transition" were both selected to receive travel awards (thank you to Dow for sponsoring!). I am excited to use this award for conference travel to present my research in the future.