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University of Iowa News Release

March 23, 2005

UI Graduate Student To Attend Nobel Laureate Meeting

Elizabeth R. Johnson of Coralville, Iowa, a third-year chemistry graduate student in the University of Iowa Graduate College, has been selected to attend the 55th Annual Nobel Laureate Meeting to be held June 23 through July 2 in Lindau, Germany.

Johnson, who qualified in part by being the UI's National Science Foundation (NSF) nominee and being selected nationally by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), is one of about 60 U.S. students who will have an opportunity to meet with researchers from around the world, including some 50 Nobel Laureates.

A student of Vicki Grassian, professor of chemistry in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and professor of chemical and biochemical engineering in the College of Engineering, her research involves studying the interaction of trace gases, including nitrogen oxides, with mineral dust particles in the atmosphere. Her focus is on characterizing the chemistry of carbonate minerals, a particularly reactive dust component.

"Johnson is an exceptional graduate student with great potential for solving tomorrow's environmental problems," said Grassian. "I see her graduate work at the University of Iowa as a major step in furthering our understanding of atmospheric particles in very important ways."

The award is sponsored by the NSF and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and administered by ORISE. Eligibility is based upon active participation in a project funded by the DOE/Office of Science or the NSF Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences. Johnson's work falls under an NSF grant awarded to Grassian.

Since 1951, Nobel Laureates in chemistry, physics and physiology/medicine have met annually in Lindau, Germany with students and young researchers. The Nobel Laureates will lecture on a science-related topic of their choice in the mornings and participate in less formal small group discussions with students in the afternoons and some evenings. In addition, the participants will tour the picturesque island city of Lindau. Located at the eastern end of Lake Constance, just north of the Swiss Alps and at the common border of Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, the medieval city is rich in central European culture.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,