Peter Adams is a professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and the Engineering and Public Policy Department at Carnegie Mellon University. Adams' research largely focuses on development of chemical transport models, especially the simulation of aerosol microphysical processes, ultrafine particles, and the formation of cloud condensation nuclei in global climate models. Areas of research have also included the effects of climate change on air quality, short-lived climate forcers, atmospheric ammonia and particulate matter formation from livestock operations, and the simulation organic particulate matter.

Adams was selected for a Fulbright grant to collaborate with researchers at the Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate in Bologna, has been a Visiting Senior Research Scientist at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Goddard Space Flight Center, and received the Sheldon K. Friedlander Award for outstanding doctoral thesis from the American Association for Aerosol Research. He has previously served on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee and the Allegheny County Health Department's Air Toxics New Guidelines Proposal Committee, as well as service to the American Association for Aerosol Research. His research is supported primarily by the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Defense.

Adams received his B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering, summa cum laude, from Cornell University. He was awarded a Hertz Foundation Applied Science Fellowship for graduate study and received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology. He also holds an associated faculty position in the Chemical Engineering department at Carnegie Mellon.

129H Baker/Porter Hall

Airborne Particulate Matter: Public Health Impacts & Climate Change


2001 Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology

1998 MS, Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology

1996 BS, Chemical Engineering, Cornell University

Research Interests

Media mentions

Engineering faculty awarded professorships

Engineering faculty Peter Adams, Elizabeth Dickey, Carlee Joe-Wong, Pulkit Grover, Alan McGaughey, Rahul Panat, and Douglas Weber were awarded professorship titles in February and March 2021.

New England Journal of Medicine

Adams co-authors article arguing EPA stance on air pollution

EPP Head Peter Adams is one of the co-authors on a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine that argues against the EPA’s current stance on air pollution standards for fine particulate matter.

CMU Engineering

Peter Adams named head of EPP

Peter Adams, a Carnegie Mellon University professor and leading researcher in the field of air quality and environmental policy, has been named head of the Department of Engineering and Public Policy (EPP).

CMU Engineering

Air pollution, simplified

Researchers from CMU’s College of Engineering are part of a collaboration that has created easy-to-use tools to estimate the societal costs of air pollution.

Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Adams attends air quality panel in protest of EPA decision

The EPA recently disbanded a review panel that was meant to generate health recommendations for air pollution. The air quality experts, including CEE/EPP’s Peter Adams, decided to meet anyway. They believe that fine particulate pollution is a serious health risk to millions of Americans and needs to be discussed.


Adams quoted on ground-level ozone

CEE/EPP’s Peter Adams was interviewed by WESA FM on the difference between ground-level ozone and stratospheric ozone. Ozone is unsafe for humans to breathe, but in the atmosphere, it protects the earth from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. “When ozone is up high in the ozone layer…you don’t have to breathe it,” Adams said. “If you did, it would still be equally bad for you.”

Adams appointed EPP Interim Head

EPP/CEE’s Peter Adams has been appointed EPP Interim Head, beginning August 1.

College of Engineering’s Celebration of Education Awards announced

Congratulations to the College of Engineering’s 2019 recipients of the Celebration of Education Awards, which recognize individuals who exemplify excellence in teaching, advising, and mentoring.

Civil & Environmental Engineering

Adams named the A&WMA 2019 Lyman A. Ripperton Environmental Educator award winner

CEE/EPP’s Peter Adams recently earned the 2019 Lyman A. Ripperton Environmental award, named by the Air and Waste Management Association (A&WMA). The annual award is given to an educator who inspires students and teaches with “rigor, humor, humility, and pride.”

CMU Engineering

Putting the power to model pollution into your hands

At Carnegie Mellon, Professor Peter Adams is working to make sure that everyone who is affected by air pollution has the tools they need to understand the quality of their air.