Project Overview

Analyzing air pollution samples from Uganda

Faculty Sponsor

Beth Parks (


Physics and Astronomy


The most recent estimates from the World Health Organization attribute 7% of total deaths worldwide to outdoor air pollution.  In Uganda, there is no regular monitoring of air pollution, but studies have shown that particulate concentrations are at unhealthy levels, roughly five times higher than the WHO guidelines.  However, it is not known what fractions of these particles are due to automobile exhaust, burning of wood and waste, dust, or industrial processes.  Your project will be to use total-reflectance x-ray fluorescence and other techniques to determine the atomic compositions of samples, which will be used to help determine the pollution sources.

Student Qualifications

Preference to students who have some background in both chemistry and physics, and also those who come to talk with me about the project.  It should also be possible for a student to work on the project who lacks some of this background.

Number of Student Researchers

1 student

Project Length

10 weeks

Applications open on 01/03/2022 and close on 02/04/2022

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If you have questions, please contact Karyn Belanger (