Cornell celebrates 65 years of leadership in biogeochemistry

By: Krisy Gashler,  Cornell Chronicle
September 21, 2021

For 65 years, Cornell CALS has been a leader in biogeochemistry, an interdisciplinary field that studies elemental cycles through Earth’s air, land and water, and is critical to understanding climate change. The first journal in the field was founded by Professor Bob Howarth in 1984.

Bob Howarth doesn’t go looking for fights, but he doesn’t hide from them, either. Howarth, the David R. Atkinson Professor of Ecology and Environmental Biology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has been a leader in the field of biogeochemistry for almost 40 years. His pioneering research has focused on ocean dead zones caused by nutrient pollution, methane’s role in climate change, the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas and the high carbon footprint of “blue” hydrogen. These groundbreaking studies have influenced policy and often sparked controversy; most recently, a lobbyist for a U.K. hydrogen group resigned just days after Howarth’s blue hydrogen study was published.

“When I decided I wanted to be a scientist, I could see biogeochemistry as a way to do science that was fun but was also something that mattered and had immediate, public impact,” Howarth said. “I’ve never set out deliberately looking for confrontation, but I have deliberately taken on questions that are challenging and where the answers matter.”
Read the full story in the CALS Newsroom.

A tropical storm viewed over the ocean