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Meet Professor Aslam Khalil
Meet Professor Aslam Khalil

While on marathon training runs Professor Khalil invents complex puzzles to challenge his students.

Professor Aslam Khalil received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the Center for Particle Theory at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a theoretician with diverse research interests and the 2004 winner of the Outstanding Scientist Award from the Oregon Academy of Sciences.

An early interest in climate change induced Professor Khalil to apply real physics to environmental sciences, which led him to the Oregon Graduate Center. There he earned a second Ph.D. in Environmental Science in 1979. Immediately afterward he joined the faculty of Environmental Science and Engineering at OGC where he also directed the Global Change Research Center and was promoted through the ranks to full professor in 1984. He joined the PSU faculty as Professor of Physics in 1995.

Professor Khalil is well known for his pioneering research and influence in the area of trace gas chemistry and physics. He has published more than 200 papers, secured nearly $10 million in research grants, and contributed significantly to our understanding of trace gases and their effect on global climate. In 2001 he was included in the ISI listing of the "World's Most Cited Authors" in the environmental sciences. His work contributed to the development of the Kyoto Protocol and the gases that are targeted for controlling global warming.

Currently Professor Khalil's interests center on how the earth's global systems are determined by physics and chemistry, but he says that this understanding will not be enough to mitigate global warming or manage the future of the earth's environment. That will require consideration of at least culture and economics, if not other sociological phenomena. This integration of social and physical science is one of the challenges that Dr. Khalil and his research group currently are working on.

In addition to his research contributions, Dr. Khalil is recognized as an outstanding teacher who captures the imagination of his students in novel and inspiring ways. In his class on atmospheric physics, he works towards making his students see a few underlying principals that are just emerging to define and unify the new Science of the Global Environment.

Dr. Khalil can often be found running on long lonely roads, "no dogs, headphones or running partners - just me and the horizon," he says. As a marathon runner, he trains at 10-30 mile distances per run. "The middle miles on the long runs, after you have settled into your pace are the most productive," he says. "I come up with many new ideas on whatever research I am working on and I come up with perplexing puzzles to challenge my students with."

Name: Aslam Khalil
Title: Professor of Physics; Director, Environmental Science and Resources Program
office: 410 SB2
phone: (503) 725-8396
fax: (503) 725-8550