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James E Boulter, Ph.D. (he/him/his)

James Boulter
  • Department Chairperson
  • Public Health and Environmental Studies
  • Chemistry and Biochemistry

I joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2004 and now hold joint appointments in the Departments of Public Health & Environmental Studies (PHES) and Chemistry & Biochemistry. I earned my Ph.D. in analytical chemistry with a specialization in atmospheric sciences from the University of Colorado, Boulder. I teach classes in general, analytical, and environmental chemistry, as well as radiation, air pollution, and sustainability. My research activities are split between laboratory and field studies of a wide range of atmospheric particulate matter and their impacts on climate and human health and public surveys in the US and China focused on perceptions of and responses to climate change.

Over the past two decades, I have given dozens of public presentations on topics including: planetary atmospheric science, global and regional climate science, perceptions of and responses to climate change, the intersection of religious faith and climate, renewable and carbon-free energy, climate policy solutions, and sustainability. I was the former chancellor’s sustainability fellow at UW-Eau Claire, was the founding director of the Watershed Institute for Collaborative Environmental Studies (now PHES) and the Office of Interdisciplinary Studies, and I currently serve as the faculty advisor to the Student Office of Sustainability and serve on the Chancellor's Advisory Council on Sustainability. I have contributed to a variety of advisory committees for the City of Eau related to sustainability, and in various leadership roles with the Eau Claire chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

Teaching Interests
  • ENPH 422, Radiation, Air Pollution, and Health
  • ENV 101, Sustainability Basics and Beyond
  • ENV 395, as Building Sustainability in the Academy
  • ENV 389, Taking the Measure of Sustainability
  • CHEM 344, Modern Applied Separations and Spectrometry
  • CHEM 304, Environmental Chemistry
  • CHEM 213, Quantitative Analysis
  • CHEM 115, Chemical Principles
  • Chair, Public Health and Environmental Studies
  • Faculty Mentor, Student Office of Sustainability
  • Chancellor's Advisory Council on Sustainability
Research and Creative Activities
  • Using CO2 as a tracer for indoor air quality (campus covid response) - with Dr. Crispin Pierce
  • Development of a novel analytical approach to quantify respirable silica in occupational settings
  • Assessment of AfterFire wipes for removal of carcinogenic material from skin surrogates
  • Public perceptions, beliefs, and understanding of climate change in the US & China - with Drs. Eric Jamelske, Kristine Knutson
  • Interactions between particulate matter in the upper mesosphere with oxygen radical species
  • Local megacryometeor sample analysis - with Drs. Hartsel, McEllistrem, Ihinger, Phillips, Thomas, Cleary, etc.
  • NSF Aeronomy & Atmospheric Chemistry Postdoctoral Fellowship (SRI International, Molecular Physics Lab)
  • Ph.D., University of Colorado, Boulder (Analytical Chemistry, Certificate in Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences)
  • B.S., Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, WA (Chemistry & Biochemistry; Certificate in Environmental Studies)
Published Research

My earliest research began at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, where I contributed to development and evaluation of novel methods to mediate aqueous and gaseous waste streams using heterogeneous, solar photocatalytic approaches.

  • Jacoby, W.A., Blake, D.M., Fennell, J.A., Boulter, J.E., Vargo, L.M., George, M.C., Dolberg, S.K., “Heterogeneous Photocatalysis for Control of Volatile Organic Compounds in Indoor Air.” J. Air and Waste Manage. Assoc. 46, 1996, pp.891-898, DOI: 10.1080/10473289.1996.10467525.
  • Blake, D.M., Wolfrum, E., Boulter, J., Prairie, M., Showalter, S., Rodacy, P., Leslie, P., Strange, B., “Photocatalytic Oxidation and Reduction Chemistry and a New Process for Treatment of Pink Water and Related Contaminated Water” NREL/TP-430-21580. Golden, CO: National Renewable Energy Laboratory, October 1996, DOI: 10.2172/395626.

My doctoral research at CU Boulder focused on atmospheric particulate matter and heterogeneous gas/solid atmospheric chemistry. I developed and characterized an aerosol inlet designed to separate atmospheric aerosol particles from interstitial air to eliminate gas-phase interferences in chemical analysis. Another part of my thesis research involved field testing a prototype instrument by measuring ozone concentrations within the arctic boundary layer at Summit, Greenland as part of a broader mission to characterize reactions of tropospheric oxidants in the upper, porous layer of the snowpack.

  • Boulter, J.E., Cziczo, D.J., Middlebrook, A.M., Thomson, D.S., Murphy, D.M., “Design and Performance of a Pumped Counterflow Virtual Impactor” Aerosol Sci. & Tech. 40, 2006, pp.969-976, DOI: 10.1080/02786820600840984.
  • Helmig D., Boulter J., David D., Birks J.W., Cullen N., Steffen K., “Ozone and Meteorological Boundary-Layer Conditions at Summit, Greenland.” Atmos. Env. 36, 2002, pp. 2595-2608, DOI: 10.1016/S1352-2310(02)00129-2.

My postdoctoral research at SRI International - and my early research with undergraduate students at UW-Eau Claire - extended my focus on heterogeneous atmospheric chemistry research to reactions on the surfaces of particles found in the upper atmosphere (ca. 85 km). These included recombination reactions of monatomic oxygen on amorphous water ice and mineral particles at very low temperatures.

  • Boulter, J.E., Morgan, C.G., Marschall, J., “Ice Surfaces in the Mesosphere: Absence of Dangling Bonds in the Presence of Atomic Oxygen.” Geophys. Res. Lett. 32, 2005, pp. L14817, DOI: 10.1029/2005GL022560.
  • Boulter, J.E., Marschall, J., “Measurement of Effective Knudsen Diffusion Coefficients for Powder Beds used in Heterogeneous Uptake Experiments.” J. Phys. Chem. A 110, 2006, pp.10444-10455, DOI: 10.1021/jp062866i.
  • Marschall, J., Boulter, J.E., “An Analytic Model for Atom Diffusion and Heterogeneous Recombination in a Porous Medium.” J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 39, 2006, pp. 3849-3857, DOI: 10.1088/0022-3727/39/17/022.
  • Doering, S.R, Strobush, K.M., Marschall, J., Boulter, J.E., “The effect of microwave-frequency discharge-activated oxygen on the microscale structure of low-temperature water ice films” J. Chem. Phys. 131, 2009, p.224706, DOI: 0021-9606/2009/131(22)224706/12.

Recently, I have expanded my scholarly work to include elements of the social sciences and policy, collaborating with faculty colleagues in economics and communications. The context of this work is consistent with my focus on atmospheric sciences, gauging public perceptions of climate change science and mitigation policy approaches in the US and China.

  • Stroik, P., Chakraborty, D., Ge, W., Boulter, J., Jamelske, E., “Effect of Reciprocity on Public Opinion of International Climate Treaties: Experimental Evidence from the U.S. and China”, Climate Policy, 19 (8), 2019, pp. 959-973. DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2019.1617666.
  • Jamelske, E., Boulter, J., Jang, W., Miller, L., “Support for an International Climate Change Treaty among American and Chinese Adults” accepted for publication in The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, 9 (1), 2017, pp. 53-70. DOI:10.18848/1835-7156/CGP/v09i01/53-70.
  • Jamelske, E., Jang, W., Barrett, J., Miller, L., Han, W.L., Boulter, J., “Examining differences in public opinion on climate change between college students in China and the USA” J. Environ. Studies and Sciences 5 (2), 2015, pp.87-98, DOI: 10.1007/s13412-015-0229-9.
  • Jamelske, E., Barrett, J, Boulter, J., “Comparing climate change awareness, perceptions, and beliefs of college students in the United States and China” J. Environ. Studies and Sciences 3 (3), 2013, pp.269-278, DOI: 10.1007/s13412-013-0144-x.

My current chemistry research is related to analytical method development for atmospherically relevant trace constituents. Currently, we are working on in situ quantification of airborne respirable silica particulate matter using a novel, highly sensitive chemiluminescent analytical approach. This draws on some of my earliest work as a grad student.

  • Boulter, J.E., Birks, J.W., “Gas-Phase Chemiluminescence Detection” in Chemiluminescence in Analytical Chemistry.  Ed. García-Campaña, A.M., Baeyens, W.  New York: Marcel Dekker, (2001) pp.349-391.
  • Boulter, J.E., “Real-Time Silica Discriminating Respirable Aerosol Monitor” T180036US01, United States Patent and Trademark Office, Submitted 9 April, 2019.
Professional Memberships

American Chemical Society

American Geophysical Union

Union of Concerned Scientists

Citizens' Climate Lobby

Previous Professional Experience

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

National Marine Fisheries Center