Scott Doney et al. on Hoos in STEM: Refining Research through Scientific Dialogue

April 29, 2023


Scott Doney, the Joe D. and Helen J. Kingston Professor in Environmental Change, explained how an opportunity to discuss his work at a conference for science journalists led to an expansion of his academic focus. His ocean research had originally been on helium isotopes.

“But that’s a really hard sell when you’re trying to talk to a journalist,” Doney said.

He added, “Other environmental scientists at this workshop were talking about works on saving spotted owls and old growth forests in the Pacific Northwest. One scientist was working on stopping illegal deforestation in Indonesia. Another was cleaning up toxic waste dumps around Chicago.”

He considered where his expertise intersected with public service and decided to tackle the question of how automobiles and other generators of carbon dioxide gas might be affecting ocean life.

Though incorporating a relatively new area – ocean acidification – was a risk, it paid off. Twenty years later, his research has led to a White House appointment to help address the problem.


Full discussion available soon on the Hoos in STEM podcast.