William W Nazaroff

William W. Nazaroff
Daniel Tellep Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Energy, Civil Infrastructure and Climate, Environmental Engineering

My research centers on air quality engineering, emphasizing two themes: pollutant dynamics in indoor air and exposure science.  On the first, my primary interest is to better understand the physics and chemistry that control the concentrations, fates, and effects of pollutants in indoor environments.  On the second topic, we apply basic knowledge about air pollutants to build a quantitative and mechanistic understanding of the relationship between emissions from sources and consequent human exposures.  My group pursues research through a combination of laboratory and field experiments, modeling, and data analysis.  In recent years, in addition to maintaining vigorous activities in the two primary areas, I have had a growing concern about and interest in the themes of sustainability, climate change, and energy-use efficiency.  I have begun to pursue research opportunities in these newer thematic areas, especially when opportunities arise that intersect with the primary research themes.


Prior to his retirement in 2018, William W Nazaroff was the Daniel Tellep Distinguished Professor of Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.  He joined the Berkeley faculty in 1988, after completing a multidisciplinary education in physics (BA, 1978, UC Berkeley), electrical engineering and computer science (MEng, 1980, UC Berkeley), and environmental engineering science (Caltech, 1989). 

Professor Nazaroff’s research group studied the physics and chemistry of air pollutants in proximity to people, especially in indoor environments.  They also worked in the domain of exposure science, stressing the development and application of methods to better understand mechanistically the relationship between emission sources and human exposure to pollutants.  He published 190+ research articles and is coauthor (with Lisa Alvarez-Cohen) of a textbook, Environmental Engineering Science (Wiley, 2001).  Twenty PhD students completed their studies under his research mentorship or co-mentorship.

Professor Nazaroff served as editor-in-chief of Indoor Air (2010-2018)  He also is the former president of the Academy of Fellows in the International Society of Indoor Air Quality and Climate (ISIAQ) (2011-2014).  He served as president of the American Association for Aerosol Research (AAAR) (2011-2012).

His teaching and mentoring activities were guided by the following beliefs:

(a) The highest achievements in engineering are built upon a solid understanding of scientific fundamentals combined with a commitment to apply this understanding for the betterment of society.

(b) Learning is a lifelong pursuit.  The best teachers are enthusiastic learners.

(c) Students share the responsibility for their education.  Teachers play an important role in empowering students to recognize and to act on this responsibility.

(d) The standards of performance at the University of California should be high.  Faculty members should establish and maintain high standards and encourage students to do their best.

(e) Students have a diverse range of academic abilities and styles of learning.  Teachers should motivate and facilitate learning by students at all ability levels.  Every student should feel challenged to do his or her best, and each student’s achievements should be appropriately recognized.

(f) Course activities should be structured to provide a high ratio of learning potential per unit of student effort.



Ph.D. - Environmental Engineering Science, California Institute of Technology, 1989
M.Eng. - Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of California at Berkeley, 1980
B.A. - Physics, University of California at Berkeley, 1978