Picture of Veronica Vaida
Professor • Institute Fellow

Office: Ekeley 145F
Lab: Ekeley M2B50
Lab Phone: 303 492 1422
Fax: 303 492 5894


Ph.D.: Yale University, 1977

BSc: Brown University Providence, RI 1973

Areas of Expertise

Physical chemistry, Spectroscopy and reaction dynamics, Atmospheric and Environmental
Chemistry, Aerosols & Clouds, Trace Gases & Radicals, Astrochemistry

Awards and Honors

  • National Academy of Sciences (2020)
  • The American Chemical Society Irving Langmuir Award (2020)
  • The American Institute of Chemists Pioneer Award (2020)
  • Wilbur Lucius Cross medal presented by the Yale Graduate School Alumni Association (2020)
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer 2007-2008
  • American Physical Society (APS)  Fellow  since 2004
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow since 2004
  • John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow 2004-2005
  • Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard Fellow 2004-2005
  • Erskine Fellowship, University of Canterbury, New Zealand 1994
  • Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher Scholar 1984
  • A. P. Sloan Fellowship 1980
  • Xerox Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University 1977-1979

Professor Vaida’s research interests are at the interface of physical chemistry and atmospheric science. In the Earth’s atmosphere, rapid oxidation of biogenic and anthropogenic emissions produces oxidized organic (acids, alcohols) and inorganic compounds.These molecules hydrogen bond readily to water forming complexes (hydrates) and aggregates, which are key ingredients in aerosol formation and subsequent cloud nucleation. Aerosols are ubiquitous in the atmosphere where they strongly influence climate by scattering and absorbing solar and thermal radiation. Professor Vaida’s experimental program investigates the spectroscopy and photoreaction dynamics of atmospheric molecules, their complexes and films at the water-air interface. Of interest is the environmental impact of sunlight-initiated chemistry. Sunlight initiated reactions studied in the Vaida group illustrate the fundamental chemistry driving the reactivity of the atmosphere and determining the temperature of the planet. Under study are light initiated chemical reactions relevant in planetary atmospheres, including the ancient and contemporary Earth. This research uses photochemistry to synthesize high-energy compounds from readily available atmospheric targets and in the process building chemical complexity in the natural environment.

“Conformer-Specific Photolysis of Pyruvic Acid and the effect of Water” Blair, Sandra L., Reed Harris Allison E., Frandsen Benjamin N., Kjaergaard Henrik G., Pangui Eduard., Cazaunau Mathieu, Doussin jean-Francois, Vaida Veronica  J. Phys. Chem A, 124(7), 1240-1252 (2020)  DOI:10.1021/acs.jpca.9b10613

 “Atmospheric Hydroxyl Radical Source: Reaction of Triplet SO2 and Water” Jay A. Kroll, Benjamin N. Frandsen, Henrik G. Kjaergaard, Veronica Vaida J. Phys. Chem. A  122(18), 4465-4469 (2018) 10.1021/acs.jpca.8b03524

 “Environmental Processing of Lipids Driven by Aqueous Photochemistry of -Keto Acids” Rebecca J. Rapf, Russell J. Perkins, Michael R. Dooley, Jay A. Kroll, Barry K. Carpenter, Veronica Vaida ACS Cent. Sci.  4(5), 624-630 (2018) DOI: 10.102/acscentsci8b00124

 “pH Dependence of the Aqueous Photochemistry of α-Keto Acids” Rebecca J. Rapf, Michael R. Dooley, Keaten Kappers, Russell J. Perkins, Veronica Vaida J. Phys. Chem A 121, 8368-8379 (2017) DOI:10.1021/acs.jpca.7b08192
“Phenylalanine Increases Membrane Permeability” Russell J. Perkins, Veronica Vaida  J. Am. Chem. Soc. 139(41), 14388-14391 (2017) DOI: 10.1021/jacs.7b09219
“Multiphase Photochemistry of Pyruvic Acid Under Atmospheric Conditions” Reed Harris, Allison Early; Pajunoja, Aki; Cazaunau, Mathieu; Gratien, Aline; Pangui, Edouard; Monod, Anne; Griffith Elizabeth Campbell; Virtanen, Annele; Doussin, Jean-Francois; Vaida, Veronica  The Journal of Physical Chemistry. A 121 (18) 3327-3339, (2017) DOI:10.1021/acs.jpca.7b01107
“Sunlight as an energetic driver in the synthesis of molecules necessary for life” Rebecca J. Rapf, Veronica Vaida Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 18, 20067-20084 (2016) DOI: 10.1039/C6CP00980H 
 “Photochemical kinetics of pyruvic acid in aqueous solutions” Reed Harris, Allison E., Ervens, Barbara, Shoemaker, Richard K., Kroll, Jay A., Rapf, Rebecca J., Griffith, Elizabeth C., Monod, Anne, Vaida Veronica J. Phys. Chem. A 118(37), 8505-8516 (2014) doi: 10.1021/jp502186q

“Photoinitiated Synthesis of Self-Assembled Vesicles “ Griffith, Elizabeth C., Rapf, Rebecca J., Shoemaker, Richard K., Carpenter, Barry K., Vaida, Veronica, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 136(10), 3784-3787 (2014)
DOI 10.1021/ja5006256

“Photochemistry of aqueous pyruvic acid” Griffith, E. C., Carpenter, B. K., Shoemaker, R. K., Vaida, V. Proc. Natnl. Acad. Sci. 110(29), 11714–11719 (2013) doi/10.1073/pnas.1303206110

“Ionization state of L‑Phenylalanine at the Air−Water Interface” Griffith, E. C. and Vaida, V.  J. Am. Chem. Soc  135(2), 710−716. (2013) dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja308089n

“Ocean –atmosphere interactions in the emergence of complexity in simple chemical systems” Griffith, E. C., Tuck, A. F., Vaida, V. Acc. Chem. Res. 45(12) 2106-2113 (2012)

 “Will water act as a photocatalyst for cluster phase chemical reactions? Vibrational overtone-induced dehydration reaction of methanediol” Kramer Z. C., Takahashi K., Vaida V. and Skodje R. T. J. Chem. Phys. 136, 164302 (2012); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4704767

 “Perspective: Water cluster mediated atmospheric chemistry” Vaida, V., J. Chem. Phys. 135(2) Art. Nr. 020901 (2011)
doi: 10.1063/1.3608919

 “Spectroscopy of Photoreactive Systems: Implications for Atmospheric Chemistry” V. Vaida  J. Phys. Chem. A 113(1), 5-18 (2009)

“The Dynamics of Vibrational Overtone Excited Pyruvic Acid in the Gas Phase: line broadening through hydrogen-atom chattering”  K. Takahashi, K. L. Plath, R. T. Skodje and V. Vaida  J. Phys. Chem A 112 (32) 7321-7331 (2008)

“The Dynamics of Vibrational Overtone Excited Pyruvic Acid in the Gas Phase: line broadening through hydrogen-atom chattering”  K. Takahashi, K. L. Plath, R. T. Skodje and V. Vaida  J. Phys. Chem A 112 (32) 7321-7331 (2008)

"Photodissociation Yields for Vibrationally Excited States of Sulfuric Acid Under Atmosperic Conditions" Y. Miller, R. B. Gerber and V. Vaida Geophysical Research Letters34(16), Art. No. L16820, (2007).

"Interfacial properties of mixed films of long-chain organics at the air-water interface" J. B. Gilman, H. Tervahattu, and V. Vaida Atmospheric Environment, 40(34), 6606-6614 (2006).

"Molecular complexes in close and far away" W. Klemperer and V. Vaida Proceddings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 103(28), 10584-10588 (2006).

"Experimental and theoretical investigation of vibrational overtones of glycolic acid and its hydrogen bonding interactions with water" D. K. Havey, K. J. Feierabend, K. Takahashi, R. T. Skodje and V. Vaida Journal of Physical Chemistry A,110(20), 6439-6446 (2006).

“The influence of organic films at the air-aqueous boundary on atmospheric processes” D. J. Donaldson, V. Vaida  Chem. Rev. 106 (4): 1445-1461 (2006)

“Sunlight initiated atmospheric photochemical reactions” V. Vaida   Int. J.Photoenergy 7, 61-70 (2005)

“Photolysis of sulfuric acid vapor by visible solar radiation” V. Vaida, D. J. Donaldson, H. G. Kjaergaard, P. E. Hintze Science 299, 1566-1568 (2003)

“Hydrated complexes: relevance to atmospheric chemistry and climate”   V. Vaida, H. G. Kjaergaard, and K. J. Feierabend      Int. Reviews in Physical Chemistry 22, 203-219 (2003)

“ Atmospheric photochemistry via vibrational overtone absorption”  D. J. Donaldson, A. F. Tuck and V. Vaida     Chem. Rev. 103, 4717-4729, (2003)

“The atmospheric absorption of near infrared and visible solar radiation by the hydrogen bonded water dimer ”   V. Vaida, A.F. Tuck, L.M. Goss, J.S. Daniel, and H. Kjaergaard   Q. J. Roy. Met. Soc127, 1627-1643 (2001)

“Physicochemical Properties of Hydrated Complexes in the Earth’s Atmosphere” V. Vaida and J. E. Headrick  J. Phys. Chem. 104, 5401-5412 (2000)

“Atmospheric aerosols as prebiotic chemical reactors” C. M. Dobson, G. B. Ellison, A. F. Tuck and V. Vaida    PNAS 97, 11864-11868 (2000)

“Atmospheric Processing of Organic Aerosols”  G.B. Ellison, A.F. Tuck and V. Vaida  J. Geophys. Res.  104, 11,633-11,641 (1999)

"The Photoreactivity of Chlorine Dioxide," V. Vaida and J. D. Simon, Science268, 1443-1448 (1995).

"Photoisomerisation of OClO: a Polar Ozone Depletion Mechanism?" V. Vaida, S. Solomon, E. C. Richard, E. Ruhl and A. Jefferson, Nature342, 405-408 (1989).