The new institute completes its directorship / Third cluster examines the consequences of geo-engineering
September 19, 2011. The Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), Potsdam, named atmospheric scientist PD Dr. Mark Lawrence (42) scientific director. Dr. Lawrence joins ranks alongside Executive Director Prof. Dr. Klaus Töpfer and Scientific Director Prof. Dr. Carlo Rubbia in October to lead the young institute. He earned his doctorate in earth and atmospheric sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, and has served as research group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany, since 2006.
Mark Lawrence will lead the IASS research cluster Sustainable Interactions with the Atmosphere (SIWA), which focuses on developing a sustainability-driven approach to managing human influence on the earth’s atmospheric composition with negligible or controllable short and long term impact on the climate, our health and ecosystems. His research at IASS will examine the relationship between air pollution and climate change in the age of urbanization, as well as the opportunities and risks presented by climate engineering, targeted intervention in the atmosphere’s chemical and physical processes as a means of reducing climate change.
“Humanity has brought about the Anthropocene era: we are a substantial force in modifying the face of the earth and the composition of the atmosphere,” commented Mark Lawrence. The general assembly of the IASS, which concentrates on sustainability development through its trans-and interdisciplinary research, chose Lawrence out of several highly qualified candidates.
“Mark Lawrence is an outstanding scientist with a great deal of international renown,” says executive Director Prof. Dr. Klaus Töpfer. “He is distinguished by the relevance and actuality of his research and the encompassing societal approach in his ideas.
The institute recognized that the current relevance of Mark Lawrence’s research topics would integrate synergistically into the Potsdam science scene. “Increased attention needs to be paid to developing programs that capitalize on a closer interaction between researchers in the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities. This challenging form of interaction has intrigued and driven me for the past decade and I am excited about leading such a program at the IASS focused on specific aspects of atmospheric change, stabilization and mitigation”, he explains.