An atmospheric chemist studies the chemistry of the atmosphere: the layers above a planet’s surface. Here on Earth, atmospheric chemists may research the planet’s changing climate or pollution in and above the air we breathe. Atmospheric Chemist Wing-Sy DeRieux works for California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District. She works with local governments and companies to make sure they do not release too many toxic chemicals into the environment around Los Angeles.
Atmospheric chemists like this Energy Economist study the chemistry of Earth’s atmosphere, the gases that surround our planet. While in graduate school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he studied fluid dynamics and chemical modeling, looking at the ways aerosols (tiny particles in air and mist) produced by human industry as well as natural processes affect clouds. [Interested in clouds? Check out the work Physicist Nicholas Carrera did at the University of Chicago’s Cloud Physics Laboratory.]