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Spring 2019: A Voyage of Discovery

Mark Wenig

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Mark Wenig is a professor at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany. His research interests are on remote sensing of air pollutants and other atmospheric parameters with the aim to further the understanding of the anthropogenic impact on the environment, especially the climate system and the atmospheric composition. He first studied physics at the University of Münster, and for his graduate studies, he attended the University of Heidelberg, where he received his PhD degree in environmental physics focusing on satellite retrieval algorithms to determine the global distribution of atmospheric pollutants. He continued to work with space-born spectroscopic measurement techniques at the Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center for five years in Greenbelt, Maryland. When he took up a professorship at City University of Hong Kong, he broadened his research area and developed different ground-based instrumental setups to analyze urban air quality. His current research includes the use of global chemical transport models, digital image processing, radiative transfer simulations and differential optical absorption spectroscopy. He is developing novel experimental setups that combine different spectroscopic measurements techniques in a variety of ways ranging from on-road plume chasing studies to drone and zeppelin based pollution monitoring. Dr. Wenig will install some of his sensors on board the MV World Odyssey for this voyage in order to scan coastal pollution plumes so that the students can get some hands-on experience in modern remote sensing technology.

Besides his research, he is interested in getting to know foreign cultures. Having lived on three different continents gave him the opportunity to experience diverse ways of life. His teaching philosophy is based on his experience that each student has their own cultural and academic background. Dr. Wenig believes that it is his responsibility to make the learning process interesting for the students and helps them understand that acquiring knowledge is the path to the future they envision for themselves. His role as a mentor for students in the USA, China and Germany taught him that presenting a question in such a way that the students can relate to it and pointing out analogies to questions in the students’ area of interest enables them to find the answer more easily. Dr. Wenig will apply this philosophy when teaching the courses Global Environmental Systems, Oceanography and Science of Global Climate Change on the MV World Odyssey.