I took this picture as I returned to the research vessel Sagar Kanya (the ship in the center of the picture) while we were anchored just off the island of Male in the Republic of the Maldives during the Indian Ocean Experiment, an experiment to try to understand how water vapor interacts with aerosol particles in Earth’s atmosphere. (Graduate school was good to me. Alaskan winters can be very cold. I was lucky enough to spend most of two of those winters in the tropics.)

Will Cantrell
Department of Physics
Michigan Technological University

The 19th century Scottish engineer and aerosol physicist John Aitken expressed it very succintly when he said, "If there were no dust in the air, there would be no fog, no clouds, no mist, and probably no rain." Every cloud droplet (all 100 mol of them) was initially formed on a small speck of floating dust called an aerosol particle. Since there are at least 100 times more aerosol particles in the atmosphere than there are cloud droplets, there must be something unique about the fraction of particles which do become cloud droplets. Understanding the factors that make some aerosol particles participate in cloud formation while others do not is the over-arching theme of my research.
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Some selected Publications
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A picture of my favorite string theorist

It should be easy to freeze water in the UP in winter. But it isn't as easy as you think. I helped a bit with the Frozen Car Project. Discovery Canada did a piece on it. The physics starts about 1:15.