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Eric Betterton, Ph.D.

Board member

Eric Betterton, Ph.D.

Eric Betterton is a University of Arizona Distinguished Professor, Emeritus. He also holds courtesy appointments in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering; and in the Division of Community, Environment and Policy, Zuckerman College of Public Health.


Born and raised in Zimbabwe, he studied chemistry in South Africa (Ph.D. University of the Witwatersrand), where he worked in the platinum mining industry, and in the cement and lime industry. He studied environmental science at Caltech and joined the University of Arizona in 1988.


His research was focused on environmental pollutants, especially those found in the air and water. His research group studied atmospheric particulate matter (aerosols) associated with mining, such as wind-blown dust from mine tailings impoundments, and smelter emissions. His research resulted in over 90 peer-reviewed publications.  He taught a large introductory course in weather and climate, and smaller, more advanced courses in atmospheric physics, atmospheric chemistry, and atmospheric aerosols.


During his career he has served at the university, state and national levels, including as head of the University of Arizona Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences; chair of the Pima County Environmental Quality Advisory Council; chair of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research Board of Trustees, with oversight of the National Center for Atmospheric Research; chair of the National Research Council, Research Associateship Programs Review Panels; chair of the American Geophysical Union Committee on Public Affairs; and member of the National Academies Committee on Sources of Lead Contamination at or near Superfund Sites.

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