Song Gao
Professor of Environmental Science at Duke Kunshan University

Song Gao
Professor of Environmental Chemistry, DKU
Postdoctoral Scholar, California Institute of Technology, Caltech (Atmospheric Chemistry / Environmental Engineering)
Ph.D., University of Washington (Analytical/Environmental Chemistry)
B.S., University of Science and Technology of China (Materials Science /Chemistry, with Honors)

Welcome to my Duke Scholar page. Prior to joining DKU, I served on the chemistry faculty in both liberal arts and research universities, including Stetson University (#4 in Best Regional Universities South) in the US, as well as Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (a leading research university).
I take an interdisciplinary approach, combining field, laboratory and modeling studies, to understanding the scientific mechanisms behind complex environmental pollution issues and finding remediation solutions. In particular, my research and peer-reviewed publications have focused on the physicochemical mechanisms of smog pollution, chemical nature and transformation of secondary aerosols, remediation technologies in removing halogenated compounds in groundwater.  I have also taken on a keen interest to formulate science-based policies in solving environmental issues with a co-benefits approach, in particular mitigating ozone depletion, air pollution and climate change issues by examining both long-lived greenhouse gases such as CO2 and short-lived pollutants such as HFCs and black carbon via modeling and policy analyses. My latest research is developing a novel scientific/policy framework to mitigate plastics pollution using both upstream and downstream approaches, coupling synthetic chemistry and atmospheric chemistry.

I have received research funding from the United States National Science Foundation (US NSF) and Hong Kong Research Grants Council, and have served as a reviewer for US NSF grants and a variety of international journals. I am currently a Section Editor for Case Studies in the Environment (University of California Press) and an Associate Editor for Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences (Springer).   

I am also passionate about teaching, having taught both undergraduate and graduate courses in chemistry, energy and environmental science, and supervised student research at both graduate and undergraduate levels. Two students recently received Green Chemistry Scholarships awarded by US National Science Foundation/American Chemical Society under my supervision.  Disseminating knowledge on chemical and earth sciences, in an intriguing and articulate manner whilst ensuring the highest rigor of learning, has never ceased to gratify me, and I intend to continue this educational mission and adventure with my students at DKU, via traditional classes, field trips, thesis and research work, and other opportunities, here in Kunshan, there in Durham, or elsewhere in a global spot.   

In my spare time, I enjoy attending concerts and sporting events, and playing the piano when a keyboard is around.  Without elaborating, I can simply say that Bach and Brahms (among all other greats), with their music so profoundly enriching and enjoyable whilst deeply resonating with laws, symmetries and patterns in the sciences, are perfect reminders of why many fields and domains are perhaps fundamentally connected yet it is a lifelong journey to decipher the embedded interconnections, complexities and implications.

Current Research Interests

Atmospheric Chemistry (Secondary Aerosol Formation, Gas-Phase Chemistry);
Particle Nucleation involving Organics, using methods such as Density Functional Theory.
Air Pollution Mechanisms and Control Measures;
Water Pollution and Remediation Technologies;
Science-Based Climate Mitigation Strategies

Office Hours

To be announced

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Contact Information

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