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Associate Professor of Engineering, Smith College

Paul Voss is a mechanical engineer and atmospheric scientist with interests in pollution transport, climate and miniature flight vehicles. He has developed unique meteorological balloons that can be flown for thousands of miles as they measure pollutants, temperature structure and winds. Voss and his students have participated in major atmospheric research campaigns in New England, Houston, Mexico and the Arctic.

He and his students have developed the world’s smallest altitude-controlled weather balloons and have worked closely with aviation authorities to deploy these balloons for atmospheric research in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Arctic, the Amazon, and Antarctica. Voss developed his expertise in airspace policy and history in response to increasing FAA restrictions on safe and long-standing teaching and research activities.

Prior to joining the Smith faculty, Voss was a research assistant professor in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Funded by a grant from the NSF Physical Meteorology Program, he developed novel altitude-controlled scientific balloons and supervised more than 15 undergraduate research projects.

Voss graduated in 1990 from Brown University with a bachelor of science in engineering and a bachelor of arts in visual arts. On a year-long fellowship in Italy, he studied ancient Rome's aqueducts and water distribution system. Motivated by the dramatic changes in the landscape that have occurred since antiquity, Voss decided to apply his knowledge of engineering and design to the study of the environment. Returning to the United States, he enrolled as a graduate student at Harvard University where he developed field and laboratory experiments to study the effects of carbon dioxide on forest regeneration under a NASA Global Change Fellowship. His graduate research evolved to develop instruments for NASA's high-altitude ER-2 aircraft and modeling stratospheric chlorine chemistry.


  • –present
    Associate Professor of Engineering, Smith College