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In Appreciation of Alan R. Bandy, R.S. Hanson Prof. of Atmospheric Chemistry: September 13, 1940 - December 24, 2011

January 6, 2012

Alan Bandy

Drexel University, the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Chemistry mourn the death of Prof. Alan R. Bandy, a highly esteemed and most valued researcher, teacher and colleague.  He died at home of complications from liver cancer.  Alan was respected and admired not only by his friends and colleagues at Drexel, but by the national and international community of atmospheric scientists, particularly those involved in the many studies of the dynamics and chemistry of the marine atmosphere in which Alan, his Drexel coworkers, and his graduate students participated.

Alan received his B.S. Degree and his M.S. degree from Oklahoma State University in 1964. From there he went to the University of Florida where he obtained his Ph.D. in 1968. After spending some time as postdoctoral associate at the University of Maryland, he joint the faculty of the Old Dominion University, where he stayed until 1975. Afterwards, he moved to Drexel University, where he started as an Associate Professor. He was promoted to the rank of a Full Professor in 1982 and was awarded a named professorship (R.S. Hanson Professor of Atmospheric and Analytical Chemistry) in 1997.

Beginning with Project GAMETAG in 1977-78 to the present, Alan was the leader or principal investigator in large field programs using aircraft and ground sites sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA Global Troposphere Program, the Office of Naval Research (ONR), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Alan developed an experimental design in 1984-1985 that facilitated the combined investigation of chemical and meteorological dynamics. This approach was unique at the time and remains a powerful way to understand the fundamental processing of chemical compounds in the dynamic system that is our atmosphere.  The first field employment of this design in 1985 ‘The Dynamics and Chemistry of the Marine Stratocumulus (DYCOMS I)’ project was a seminal event in the development of techniques needed to achieve chemical measurements on time scales comparable to which meteorological measurements are made.  This achievement was crucial to making progress determining and understanding in detail chemical fluxes in the lower maritime atmosphere. This need drove the research of the Bandy group and others from that time to the present.

In the laboratory Alan and his graduate students along with crucial support from Drexel coworkers, particularly Dr. Donald Thornton and Mr. Wolfgang Nadler who worked with him for many years, developed the exacting analytical techniques that permitted measuring sulfur gases (dimethyl sulfide and sulfur dioxide) in the atmosphere with one-second resolution. Alan and his group pioneered isotopic dilution techniques first for GC/MS and later to continuous atmospheric pressure MS (APIMS) that were the tools needed to determine the fluxes and that minimized the errors to the point where the fluctuations in atmospheric dynamics could be observed.  Later Alan and his graduate student, Brendan DeLacy, used isotopic dilution to measure small-scale fluctuations in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. These truly ground-breaking developments were driven by Alan’s particular genius in conceiving projects on a grand global scale while tending to minute and exacting details of the chemical analytical systems devised.

Alan’s efforts were not limited to experimental measurements. He guided the graduate work of one Ph. D. student using highly detailed theoretical chemistry calculations that made a definitive contribution of how sulfur dioxide is oxidized to sulfuric acid in the atmosphere. Alan was the author or co-author of more than 100 publications, advisor to 20 graduate students, and mentor to 10 postdoctoral scholars. His papers were cited more than four thousand times. His research was equally rooted in analytical and physical chemistry. In his classes Alan made an effort to share his enormous knowledge with students and to excite them for developing scientific and scholarly interest and thinking.

Prof. Emeritus James P. Friend
Dr. Donald R. Thornton
Prof. Reinhart Schweitzer-Stenner, Department Head