SOCORRO, N.M., November 13, 2000 -- Oliver W. Wingenter recently was appointed to the full-time, tenure-track position of assistant professor of chemistry at New Mexico Tech. He also will serve concurrently as a research scientist at the state-funded research university's Geophysical Research Center.

Wingenter arrived at New Mexico Tech after working the past year as a research specialist at the University of California at Irvine and, prior to that, as a postdoctoral researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Wingenter earned his bachelor of science degree in chemistry at San Jose State University. He went on to earn his doctoral degree in chemistry at the University of California at Irvine, where he conducted his dissertation research under F. Sherwood Rowland. (Rowland shared the 1995 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his research work done in 1974, in which he predicted that chlorofluorocarbons, or "CFCs," would deplete stratospheric ozone.)

This fall semester at New Mexico Tech, Wingenter is teaching "General Chemistry." Next semester, he will teach "Atmospheric Chemistry," a graduate-level course.

He also currently is serving as faculty advisor to the Tech Chemistry Club.

As an atmospheric chemist, Wingenter's research interests are in chemical processes that control "global warming" and stratospheric ozone depletion. More precisely, his research focuses on the photochemistry involved in the processes which destroy greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and sources and distributions of gases that destroy stratospheric ozone.

"Shortly after arriving at New Mexico Tech, I was pleased to find out that a lot of the students here are very interested in working on research projects," Wingenter says. "The chemistry department also has been very supportive, helping me get started in my research and teaching."

Wingenter's recent research projects have involved obtaining air samples from aircraft, ships, and ground sites: "Ever since starting graduate school, I've been working on research projects all around the world," he says.

"As a professor teaching undergraduates, I try to present to the students the importance and motivation for the science they are learning in order to awaken their interest," Wingenter relates.

Wingenter, a native Californian, says he and his family are enjoying their new surroundings and are looking forward to snowboarding, skiing, and swimming in their spare time.

He and his wife, Christine, are the parents of a daughter, Vanessa Doyle, who is a sophomore at Socorro High School.