WKU professor featured in prominent science journal

Cameron Koch

Chris Groves, a professor of geography and geology,  made WKU’s slogan of “A Leading American University with International Reach” ring true with his recent appearance in the internationally read academic journal “Science.”

Groves’ expertise was used in a sidebar feature story in the Nov. 18 issue of the journal, called “An Unsung Carbon Sink,” revolving around how China is working to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions.

Excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, manmade or otherwise, is responsible for global climate change, making it a hot topic in today’s scientific community.

“Science” is an academic journal that publishes a wide range of scientific research, but also science-related news and opinion. Many journals scientists publish in are very field-specific, but two journals, “Science” and “Nature,” are more broad, with a large and international readership.

Groves has been working in China with Chinese colleagues studying how the dissolving of certain types of rock, such as limestone, consumes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere acting as possible inorganic carbon sink and reducing carbon dioxide levels. The earth in the area of China where Groves conducts his research is very similar to the karst limestone landscape of south central Kentucky.

David Keeling, geography and geology department head, said Groves is at the top of the field in land-use management and carbon sequestration.

“He’s one of the world’s leading experts,” Keeling said. “It’s good for WKU to have somebody like Chris.”

Groves said “Science” is a journal that’s highly ranked and receives a lot of attention.

“People all over the world are reading it,” he said.

That a WKU professor is quoted in a journal article highlighting the collaboration between himself and Chinese colleagues fits into WKU’s motto of international reach, Groves said.

“It’s talking about collaboration between some of us at Western and working in China…The fact that Western is this idea of international reach and go beyond south central Kentucky — it lets people know we are working internationally,” Groves said.

Keeling said he believes having an internationally recognized professor such as Groves featured in a journal like “Science” is great for WKU.

“Science is pretty high-end,” Keeling said. “It’s recognition that the research is recognized and that it supports the institution’s goal of international reach.”