Combatting Air Pollution in Southern California in the 1950s

Public Events
Monday, December 6, 2021
4:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. PST (UTC -8)

Smog was an obvious problem in Los Angeles by the early 1950s. What caused it? What should be done about it?


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“Clearing the air of mystery for APC...”
Advertisement for Beckman Instruments, Inc., 1960

Science History Institute

Join Institute research curator Roger Turner as he discusses the experiments conducted by chemists Arnold Beckman and Arie Haagen-Smit that revealed the invisible culprit: ozone. This discovery led to a coalition of scientists, industry leaders, bureaucrats, and activists to create laws that eventually reduced ugly brown smog, but did little to reduce other harms associated with air pollution.

About the Speaker

Roger Turner is an historian and storyteller. His particular scholarly expertise is in 20th-century atmospheric science, scientific instruments, and environmental monitoring.

At the Science History Institute, Roger helped launch the student role-playing game Science Matters: The Case of Rare Earth Elements, worked on the film The Instrumental Chemist, developed the playful online experience Instruments of Change, and contributes to museum exhibits. He wrote and curated Mechanochemistry: The Science of Crush for Google Arts & Culture.

This is a Southern California Section of the American Chemical Society (SCALACS) event presented under a Senior Chemists Mini Grant.