Peter Adams, a Carnegie Mellon University professor and leading researcher in the field of air quality and environmental policy, has been named head of the Department of Engineering and Public Policy (EPP). Adams, who currently serves as the interim head of EPP, will immediately transition to department head. 

Adams has been a jointly-appointed faculty member in EPP and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering since 2001. In 2013, Adams was named director of the Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies (CAPS), a cross-campus collaboration and one of the world’s leading research groups focused on particulate matter and its effects on global climate and public health.

Peter Adams

Source: College of Engineering

Peter Adams has been named head of EPP, effective immediately.

“EPP is a jewel of CMU’s College of Engineering. Peter possesses the drive and deep understanding of EPP’s strengths, which will enable the department to sustain and build on its historical preeminence,” says Bill Sanders, dean of the College of Engineering. “He has demonstrated his strong ability to lead the department after he stepped up to serve as interim head last summer, and I look forward to working closely with him in the coming years.” 

Adams’ research interests lie at the intersection of air quality, climate, and energy systems. Viewing these areas through a policy-focused but technically-robust lens, Adams’ group has developed air quality models to help inform researchers and policymakers alike. For example, he led the development of a model that provides estimates of the social costs of air pollution—premature mortality risk per unit emissions—which help facilitate considerations of air quality and public health in policy analyses. 

Given his expertise in air quality and energy systems, Adams has played a significant leadership role in the Center for Air, Climate, and Energy Solutions, a $10M Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-funded research center housed at CMU, which has fostered deep collaborations between air quality researchers in the center and energy systems researchers in the EPP department. 

Adams has served on the United States EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee Particulate Matter Review Panel, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee, and the Allegheny County Health Department Air Toxics New Guidelines Proposal Committee. 

He is a member of the Air and Waste Management Association, the American Association for Aerosol Research, and the European Geosciences Union. 

Prior to his tenure at CMU, Adams received his M.S. and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the California Institute of Technology and his B.S. in chemical engineering from Cornell University.

The College appreciates the efforts of the EPP Head Search Committee members, especially Greg Rohrer who served as the committee chair, for doing a remarkable job in this search. In addition to Rohrer, the committee consisted of Shelley Anna, Daniel Armanios, Nicolas Christin, Erica Fuchs, Paulina Jaramillo, Jeremy Michalek, Mitch Small, Patti Steranchak, Katie Whitefoot, and Jimmy Williams, with Suzie Smith providing administrative support.