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Bill Asher
Bill Asher

Senior Research Associate

Dr. Asher graduated from Reed College in 1980 with a B.A. in chemistry.  He received his Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Engineering in 1987 from the Oregon Graduate Institute, where he worked with Prof. James Pankow on air-water gas exchange.  Dr. Asher was a post-doctoral research associate for Prof. Gerald Korenowski in the Department of Chemistry at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute from 1987 until 1989.  His post-doctoral work focused on using optical second harmonic generation for in situ study of the sea surface microlayer.  He then joined the Battelle Marine Sciences Laboratory in Sequim, Washington in 1989, first as a post-doctoral research associate for Pacific Northwest National Laboratories and then as a Senior Research Scientist.  While there, he investigated the effect of whitecaps on air-sea gas exchange and the use of microwave radiometry in detecting breaking waves on the ocean surface.  He moved to the University of Washington in 1995, first as a visiting scientist at the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and the Ocean, moving to the Applied Physics Laboratory in 1996, where he now holds the title of Principal Oceanographer.  In 2000 he took a joint position as a Research  Associate at the Oregon Graduate Institute, Oregon Health and Sciences University.  He became a Senior Scientist at Portland State University in 2008, working for Prof. James Pankow. 

Dr. Asher’s research interests include understanding the small-scale physics and chemistry of air-sea exchange processes, applications of second-order nonlinear optical processes to chemical remote sensing, the use of microwave radiometry in remote sensing of the ocean, chemical thermodynamics of atmospheric organic particulate matter, and fate and transport of pollutants in surface waters.  He is a member of NASA’s Ocean Surface Salinity Science Team, past editor for Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, and past associate editor for Journal of Geophysical Research (Oceans).  His current research projects at the University of Washington include an NSF-funded project studying the use of infrared imagery in quantifying the air-water transfer velocities of heat and gases, an ONR-funded project developing sum-frequency vibrational spectroscopy as a stand-off probe for trace levels of explosive contamination, and  a NASA-funded project investigating the formation and persistence of gradients salinity very near the air-water interface.  Projects at PSU include modeling the formation of organic particulate matter (with Prof. J. Pankow) and developing numerical tools for understanding the fate and transport of priority pollutants in surface waters (with Prof. J. Pankow).  Past projects include application of sum-frequency spectroscopy as a method for rapid stand-off package screening (FBI), investigating the role of wind-generated spray droplets in the rapid intensification of tropical cyclones (ONR), and the effect of breaking waves on microwave sea surface brightness temperatures measured by satellite-mounted radiometers (ONR, IPO, NRL).