Thomas Cahill is Professor Emeritus of Physics at the University of California, Davis. He received his Ph. D. from the University of California--Los Angeles in 1965, and he joined the faculty at UC Davis in 1967, coming from a NATO Fellowship in France where he was studying inner stellar nuclear processes.
Beginning in 1970, Professor Cahill began applying nuclear and atomic techniques for environmental problems, especially in air pollution. He founded the Crocker Nuclear Laboratory Air Quality group and became Director of the Institute of Ecology, 1972-1976. His work was instrumental in the removal of lead from gasoline and introduction of the catalytic converter, the reduction of sulfur in fuel, and the new air basin for Lake Tahoe with more stringent environmental limits. In 1977, he designed and initiated for the US EPA the first measurements of atmospheric aerosols and visibility at national parks, which in 20 years expanded into the national IMPROVE network which he ran until 1997. In this regard, he repeatedly became involved in Congressional testimony and EPA hearings to demand controls on polluters throughout the west.
In 1980, he became Director of the Crocker Nuclear Laboratory, and started a new program in analysis of ancient documents, the Crocker Historical and Archaeological Project (CHAP). This resulted in pioneering analyses of the Gutenberg Bible, Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Vinland Map, among others.
After officially retiring in 1994, Prof. Cahill formed the DELTA Group (Detection and Evaluation of Long-range Transport of Aerosols) to study aerosol impacts on global climate. This program had major NSF programs in Asia and the Arctic, including the continuing aerosol sampling program under NSF Polar Programs on the Greenland Ice Cap.
Dr. Cahill continues to be involved in the health impacts of aerosols most notably during unique work on the threat of aerosols from the World Trade Center, railroads, and freeways. Working with local NGOs, he has been instrumental in a number of California laws in the past decade.