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Donald Stedman

Contributor II
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B.A., Cambridge University, England, 1964

M.Sc., University of East Anglia, England, 1965

Ph.D., University of East Anglia, England, 1967 (with M.A.A. Clyne)


University of Denver, Brainerd F. Phillipson Professor Emeritus and Research Professor of Chemistry

University of Michigan, Visiting Lecturer to Professor, 1971-83

Departments of Chemistry and Atmospheric and Oceanic Science (jointly)

Ford Motor Company, Research Scientist Senior, 1969-71

Kansas State University, Postdoctoral Fellow, 1967-69 (with D.W. Setser)

Professional Societies:

A.A.A.S., A.C.S., Air & Waste Mgmt. Assoc.

Honors and Awards

American Chemical Society, Detroit Section, Thomas Midgley Award for Chemistry related to the Automobile Industry, 2002.

American Chemical Society, Colorado Section Award, 1997

Air & Waste Management Association, Frank A. Chambers Award, 1996

American Chemical Society Award for Creative Advances in Env. Sci. Tech., 1996

University Lecturer, University of Denver, 1994-95, John Evans Professor, 2001-

National Committee Service has included:

NAS-NRC Com. on Airline Cabin Air Qual. 1986. (recommended banning smoking on airliners).

Over 300 Refereed Publications and book chapters in Atmospheric Chemistry, Chemical Kinetics, Trace Gas Analysis, Chemiluminescence, and Remote Sensing, including:

“A Decade of On-road Emissions Measurements”, G.A. Bishop and D.H. Stedman, Environ. Sci. Technol., 42:1651-1656, 2008

“On-Road Remote Sensing of Automobile Emissions in the Phoenix Area: Year 6, November 2006”, G.A. Bishop, R. Stadtmuller and D. H. Stedman, Final Report for CRC, July 2007.

“Spectroscopy Applied to On-Road Mobile Source Emissions”, D.A. Burgard, G. A. Bishop, R. S Statdtmuller, T.R. Dalton and D.H. Stedman, Appl. Spect. 60, 135A, 2006.

“Nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and ammonia detector for remote sensing of vehicle emissions” D. A. Burgard, T. R. Dalton, G. A. Bishop, J. R. Starkey, and D. H. Stedman, Rev. Sci. Instrum. 77, 014101, 2006.


The Science and Politics of Motor Vehicle Emissions

In the late 1980s we invented a device which measures the fuel-based emissions of individual motor vehicles as they drive by. IR is used to measure CO, CO2 and hydrocarbons. UV is used to measure NO, NO2, NH3 and SO2. A typical system measures 10,000 vehicles per day. The results correlate very well with average automobile emissions measured on a dynamometer in states which have large dynamometer emission testing programs. We find from these studies that: a few broken vehicles are responsible for most of the emissions: the fraction of broken vehicles (a.k.a. gross emitters) has been going down with time, apparently as a result of vehicle manufacturer's improved ability: new vehicles are essentially irrelevant to emissions for their first four years and remain so throughout their lifetime if properly maintained. With evidence of 20 million readings from over 20 countries we emphasize the overriding importance of both vehicle maintenance and new car standards, and believe that automobile emissions control programs which treat all vehicles, or all vehicles of a give model year, as having the same emissions are bound to have poor cost effectiveness. For more information see

Stratospheric Ozone: Why Crutzen, Molina and Rowland deserved the Nobel Prize

In the 1960s the chemistry of atomic chlorine, which happened to be the topic of my PhD thesis, was of interest to at most a half dozen chemical kineticists. By the mid 1970s there were senate subcommittee hearings on the importance of the chemistry of atomic chlorine to stratospheric ozone depletion. The history of ozone, the discovery of the ozone layer in the stratosphere and the subsequent understanding of its fascinating kinetics and photochemistry are the topic of this talk with particular emphasis on the insights which lead Crutzen, Molina and Rowland to become the 1995 Nobel Prize award winners. Today, thanks to concerted international wisdom and interesting commercial flip flops, the ozone layer is indeed slowly recovering from our attempts to destroy it.

A Career of Inventing Things

The process of invention is not straightforward and there are many hurdles between invention and commercial success especially for an academic with no business skills or training. The first successful patent was for a chemiluminescent nickel carbonyl detector. The device took over the (minute) world market more or less immediately and thirty years later remains an important technology to the few people who care about such things. It is hard to get a manufacturer interested in such a small market, The second was the luminol based NO2 detector which was manufactured and sold to several interested air pollution agencies. The chemiluminescent GC sulfur detector, which came later, also took over half the (larger) world market in a few years and therefore became the subject of several interesting patent law suits. Our fourth, and many subsequent patents was the on-road remote sensor which cam measure the pollutant emissions of passing vehicles in under one second each. This invention has been both successful and frustrating in more or less equal measure for various reasons.

Ozone Pollution in Cities

The interaction between sunlight, volatile hydrocarbons and oxides of nitrogen is both fascinating and complicated. There is no argument that hydrocarbon emission reductions both in reactivity and quantity will reduce urban ozone. The effects of reductions in oxides of nitrogen emissions are more equivocal. Some areas see more ozone and some less. This phenomenon is the cause of the “weekend effect” in which many urban dwellers experience more ozone during the weekends (when emissions are lower) than during the week. The chemistry involves free radical chain reactions, particularly driven by the cycling of so called “odd hydrogen radicals” OH and HO2. A highly simplified graphical approach to the chemistry (which in the computer models involves more than 300 simultaneous reactions) helps to explain why reductions in oxides of nitrogen emissions can cause ozone in one place to go up while in another the have the opposite effect.


University of Denver

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Denver, CO, United States, 80208


Home: 303-269-9839

Business: 303-871-2580

Cell: 303-269-9839

Fax: 303-871-2254

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