Professor Francis Pope PhD, MChem, MA(Cantab)

Francis Pope

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Professor of Atmospheric Science

Contact details

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Francis is an environmental scientist with wide ranging interests in the atmospheric sciences, human health and sustainable cities. He trained as a physical chemist and he uses this fundamental knowledge to develop novel instrumentation and probe systems of interest. 

Francis has active research projects in the broad areas of air pollution, climate change, fundamental aerosol chemistry and microphysics, and city resilience. He leads the ‘A Systems Approach to Air Pollution (ASAP) East Africa’ which is taking a multi-disciplinary approach to tackling air pollution in the study cities of Nairobi, Kampala, and Addis Ababa.  


2010 – MA (Cantab) – University of Cambridge

2005 – Ph.D. – University of Bristol

2001 – MChem (international) – University of Leeds


Francis studied chemistry for his undergraduate degree at the University of Leeds; he spent his third year at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, USA working with Prof. Paul Wine. His doctoral studies were in atmospheric physical chemistry at the University of Bristol under the tutelage of Prof. Andrew Orr-Ewing FRS and Prof. Mike Ashfold FRS. His thesis title was “Photolysis of formaldehyde relevant to the upper troposphere low stratosphere (UTLS)”. Upon graduation, he moved to the USA to work in the lab of Dr Stanley Sander at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena as a Caltech research fellow. On return to the UK, he took a position in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge and a college fellowship at Robinson College Cambridge. Here he worked with Dr Tony Cox, Prof. Markus Kalberer and Prof. Rod Jones. In 2012, he was appointed as a Birmingham Fellow, which allow outstanding, high potential researchers to establish world leading research groups, at the University of Birmingham in 2012. He was made Professor of Atmospheric Science in 2018.

His current group consists of two postdocs, nice PhD and five masters students. He has generated funding in excess of £2.9m, from research councils (UK and EU) and government agencies. He has led two multi-institute and multinational projects to completion. He provides policy directed research on road pollution (related to the VW scandal) for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Transport Scotland, and the Department for Transport.  He is an editor for the prominent ‘Atmospheric Measurement Techniques’ journal and a convener for the largest European environmental conference (EGU) which attracts over 15000 delegates.

Postgraduate supervision

So far, six students have completed their PhD studies in the Pope group:

  • Maryam Shehab (2018) investigated a cohort’s personal exposure to particulate matter air pollution and assessed the short-term effects of particulate matter exposure upon cognition.
  • Nicholas Davidson (2018) investigated the chemical and physical processing of atmospheric and pharmaceutical aerosol.
  • Marliyyah Mahmood (2018) investigated the effect of vehicle traffic pollution upon pollen and its allergenicity.
  • Ajit Singh (2017) investigated the role of atmospheric pollution upon visibility and the atmospheric chemistry of the nitrous acid (HONO). Thesis.
  • Clare Fitzgerald (2016) developed new techniques to probe atmospheric and pharmaceutical aerosol viscosity.
  • Suad Al-Kindi (2015) investigated the chemical processing of atmospheric aerosol. Thesis.

Current students

  • James Hodgson (1st year) is taking a big data approach to vehicle emissions and health outcomes.
  • Aileen Baird (1st year) is taking a big data approach to above and below ground fungal diversity in a carbon dioxide enriched woodland (BIFoR).
  • Daniel Haynes (1st year) is investigating the bioaerosol and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from a carbon dioxide enriched woodland (BIFoR).
  • Vasileios Matthaios (2nd year) is investigating road vehicle emissions.
  • Brian Stacey (2nd year) is investigating ultrafine particulate matter at Heathrow airport.
  • Dimitrios Bousiotis (2nd year) is investigating particulate matter source apportionment.
  • Dhoha Rushoud Al-Rushoud (2nd year) is investigating spatiotemporal variation and source apportionment of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  • Kamolrat Sangkharat (3rd year) is assessing how ambulance callouts in the UK and Thailand are affected by climate, meteorology and atmospheric pollution.
  • Tara Rasoul (3rd year) is modelling nitryl chloride (ClNO2) in urban locations.

Future Students

Francis is interested in supervising doctoral research students in the following areas: 

  • Air pollution and health
  • Environmental sustainable development
  • Climate change (including geoengineering)
  • Fundamental atmospheric chemistry and microphysics

Current opportunities

If you are interested in studying any of these subject areas, please contact Francis on the details above.

For a full list of available Doctoral Research opportunities, please visit our Doctoral Research programme listings.


Current Projects

  • 2018 – 2019: A systems approach to air pollution in Delhi, funded by the Academy of Medical Sciences
  • 2017 – 2020: A Systems Approach to Air Pollution (ASAP) East Africa, funded by the Department for International Development (DFID)  
  • 2017 – 2019: Air quality in Nairobi: past current and future trends, funded by the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry
  • 2017 – 2018: Utilization of ambulance data to quantify the impact of temperature and air pollution on human health in urban environments, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC)
  • 2016 – 2018: Particulate matter pollution: better policies through high quality low cost sensor networks, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
  • 2016 – 2018: Evaluation of the EDAR, a device to measure vehicle emissions on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis, funded by the Department for Transport (DFT)

Other activities

Convener of the ‘Aerosol chemistry and microphysics’ session at the European Geophysical Union (EGU) conference.

Associate editor of the Copernicus journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques.

Example Media Work

Member of the following societies:

Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), European Geophysical Union (EGU), and UK Aerosol Society

Reviewer for the following journals:

Nature Communications, Physics Review Letters, Environmental Science & Technology, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Faraday Discussions, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, Physical Chemistry Letters, Journal of Physical Chemistry A, Journal of Chemical Physics, and Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A.


Journal Articles

47. Reid, J., A. Bertram, D. Topping, A. Laskin, S. Martin, M. Petters, F. D. Pope, G. Rovelli (2018) ‘The viscosity of organic particles in the atmosphere’ Nature Comms. In press.

46. Crilley, L., M. Shaw, R. Pound, L. J. Kramer, R. Price, S. Young, A. C. Lewis and F. D. Pope (2018) ‘Evaluation of a low-cost optical particle counter (Alphasense OPC-N2) for ambient air monitoring’ Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, 11, 709-720.

45. Ropkins, R., T. H. DeFries, F. D. Pope, D. C. Green, J. Kemper, S. Kishan, G. W. Fuller, H. Li, J. Sidebottom, L. R. Crilley, L. Kramer, W. J. Bloss, J. S. Hager (2017) ‘Evaluation of EDAR vehicle emissions remote sensing technology’. Science of the Total Environment, 609, 1464-1474

44. Mahmood, M. A., J.E. Thornes, F. D. Pope, P. Fisher, S. Vardoulakis (2017) ‘Impact of air temperature on London ambulance call-out incidents and response times’. Climate, 5, 61,

43. Ilyinskaya, E., A. Schmidt, T. A. Mather, F. D. Pope, C. Witham, P. J. Baxter, T. Johansson,  S. Barsotti, M. Pfeffer, A. Singh, P. Sanderson, B. Bergsson, B. M. Kilbride, A. Donovan, N. J. Peters, C. Oppenheimer, M. Edmonds (2017) ‘Understanding the environmental impacts of large fissure eruptions: Aerosol and gas emissions from the 2014-2015 Holuhruan eruption (Iceland)’ Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 472, 309-322,

42. Gallimore, P.J., P. T. Griffiths, F. D. Pope, J. P. Reid  and M. Kalberer (2017) ‘Comprehensive modelling study of ozonolysis of oleic acid aerosol based on real-time, online measurements of aerosol composition’, J. Geophys. Res.,

41. Davidson, N., H.-J. Tong, M. Kalberer, P.C. Seville, M.K. Kuimova, A. Ward and F.D. Pope (2017) ‘Measurement of the Raman spectra and hygroscopicity of four pharmaceutical aerosols as they travel from pressurised metered dose inhalers (pMDI) to a model lung’, Int. J. Pharmaceutics, 520(1-2), 59-69.

40. Singh, A., W.J. Bloss, F.D. Pope (2017) ’60 years of UK visibility measurements: impact of meteorology and atmospheric pollutants on visibility’.  Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 2085-2101,

39. Pant, P., Z. Shi, F. D. Pope, R. M. Harrison (2017) ‘Characterization of traffic-related particulate matter emissions in a road tunnel in Birmingham, UK: trace metals and organic molecular markers’. Aerosol and Air Quality Research, 17, 117-130.

38. A. Athanasiadis, C. Fitzgerald, N. M. Davidson, C. Giorio, S. W. Botchway, A. D. Ward, M. Kalberer, F. D. Pope, M. K. Kuimova (2016) ‘Dynamic viscosity mapping of the oxidation of squalene aerosol particles’ Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 18, 30385-30393.

37. Fitzgerald, C., N.A. Hosny, H.-J. Tong, P.C. Seville, P.J. Gallimore, N.M. Davidson, A. Athanasiadis, S.W. Botchway, A.D. Ward, M. Kalberer, M.K. Kuimova and F.D. Pope (2016) ‘Fluorescence lifetime imaging of optically levitated aerosol: a technique to quantitatively map the viscosity of suspended aerosol particles’, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 18, 21710-21719.

36. Tang, M.J., J. Keeble, P.J. Telford, F.D. Pope, P. Braesicke, P. T. Griffiths, N. L. Abraham, J. McGregor, I.M. Watson, R.A. Cox, J.A. Pyle and M. Kalberer (2015) ‘Heterogeneous reaction of ClONO2 with TiO2 and SiO2 aerosol particles: implications for stratospheric particle injection for climate engineering’.  Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 15397-15412.

35. Al-Kindi, S., F. D. Pope, D. C. Beddows, W. J. Bloss, and R. M. Harrison (2016) ‘Size dependent chemical ageing of oleic acid aerosol under dry and humidified conditions’. Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss. In discussion.

34. Crilley, L.R., L. Kramer, F.D. Pope, L.K. Whalley, D. Cryer, D. Heard, J.D. Lee, C. Reed and W.J. Bloss (2016) ‘On the interpretation of in situ HONO observations via photochemical steady state’ Faraday Discussions, Accepted 

33. Tong H.-J., I. Kourtchev, P. Pant, I.J. Keyte, I.P. O’Connor, J.C. Wenger, F.D. Pope, R.M. Harrison and M. Kalberer. (2016) ‘Molecular composition of organic aerosols at urban background and road tunnel sites using ultra-high resolution mass spectrometry’ Faraday Discussion.

32. Hosny, N. A., C. Fitzgerald, A. Vysniauskas, T. Athanasiadis, T. Berkemeier, N. Uygur, U. Pöschl, M. Shiraiwa, M. Kalberer, F.D. Pope and M.K. Kuimova (2016) ‘Direct imaging of changes in aerosol particle viscosity upon hydration and chemical aging’.  Chemical Science, 17, 32194-32203.  

31. Tang, M.J., J. Whitehead, F.D. Pope, N. Davidson, M.R. Alfarra, G. McFiggans and M. Kalberer (2015) ‘Cloud condensation nucleation activities of calcium carbonate and its atmospheric ageing products’. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 17, 32194-32203.

30. Singh, A., W. J. Bloss and F. D. Pope (2015) ‘Remember, remember the 5th of November; gunpowder, particles and smog’. Weather, 70 (11), 320-324.

29. Bilde, M. et al. [32 authors including F. D. Pope] (2015) ‘Saturation vapor pressures and transition enthalpies of low-volatility organic molecules of atmospheric relevance: from dicarboxylic acids to complex mixtures’. Chemical Reviews., 115 (10), 4115-4156.

28. Tong, H.-J., B. Ouyang, N. Nikolovski, D.M. Lienhard, F.D. Pope, and M. Kalberer. (2015) ‘A new electrodynamic balance design for low temperature studies: application to immersion freezing of pollen extract bioaerosols’. Atmos. Meas. Tech., 15, 291-337.

27. Tong, H.-J. C. Fitzgerald, M. Kalberer, P. J. Gallimore,  M. Kalberer, M. K. Kuimova, P. C. Seville, A. D. Ward and  F.D. Pope (2014) ‘Rapid interrogation of the physical and chemical characteristics of salbutamol sulphate aerosol from a pressurised metered dose inhaler (pMDI)’. Chem. Comm., 50, 15499-15502.

26. Exley, K., S. Robertson, F.D. Pope, R.M. Harrison, and T.W. Gant. (2014) ‘Sources, quantification and health implications of bioaerosols’. American Journal of Pharmacology and Toxicology., 9 (3), 189-199.

25. Tang, M.J., J.C.J. Camp, L. Rkiouak, J. McGregor, I.M. Watson, R.A. Cox, M. Kalberer, A.D. Ward, F.D. Pope. (2014) ‘Heterogeneous interaction of SiO2 with N2O5: aerosol flow tube and single particle levitation –Raman spectroscopy studies’. J. Phys. Chem. A., 118 (38), 8817-8827.

24. Rkiouak, L., M. Tang, J. Camp, J. McGregor, I.M. Watson, R.A. Cox, M. Kalberer, A.D. Ward, F.D. Pope. (2014) ‘Optical trapping and Raman spectroscopy of solid aerosol particles’. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys, 16 (23), 11426-11434.

23. Tang, M.J., F.D. Pope, P.J. Telford, L. Rkiouak, N.L. Abraham, P. Braesicke, R.A. Cox, J.A. Pyle, J. McGregor, I.M. Watson, M. Kalberer. (2014) ‘Heterogeneous reaction of N2O5 with airborne TiO2 particles and the implication for stratospheric particle injection’ Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 6035-6048.

22. Young I.A.K., R.L. Jones, F.D. Pope. (2014) ‘The UV and visible spectra of chlorine peroxide: constraining the photolysis rate’ Geophy. Res. Lett., doi:10.1002/2013GL058626.

21. Hosny, N., C. Fitzgerald, C. Tong, M. Kalberer, M.K. Kuimova, F.D. Pope. (2013) 'Fluorescent lifetime imaging of atmospheric aerosols: a direct probe of aerosol viscosity' Faraday Discussions, 165, 343-356.

20. von Hobe, M. et al. [86 authors including F.D. Pope] (2013) 'Reconciliation of essential process parameters for an enhanced predictability of Arctic stratospheric ozone loss and its climate interactions' Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 9233-9268.

19. Pope, F.D., P. Braesicke, R.G. Grainger, I.M. Watson, P. Davidson, R.A. Cox. (2012) ‘Properties and impact of stratospheric aerosol particles proposed for solar radiation management.’ Nature Climate Change, 2, 713.

18. Griffiths, P.T., J.-S. Borlace, P.J. Gallimore, M. Kalberer, M. Herzog, F.D. Pope. (2012) 'Hygroscopic growth and cloud activation of pollen: a laboratory and modelling study' Atmospheric Science Letters.

17. Lee J., V., Carrascon, P.J. Gallimore, A. Björkgren, D.R. Spring, F.D. Pope, M. Kalberer. (2012) ‘The effect of humidity on the ozonolysis of unsaturated compounds in aerosol particles.’ Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 14, 8023.

16. Gallimore P.J., P. Achakulwisut, F.D. Pope, J. Davies, D.R. Spring, M. Kalberer. (2011) ‘Importance of relative humidity in the oxidative ageing of organic aerosols: case study of the ozonolysis of maleic acid aerosol.’ Atmos. Chem. Phys. 11, 12181.

15. Young I.A.K., C.M. Blaum, C. Murray, R.A. Cox, R.A.L. Jones, F.D. Pope. (2011) ‘Structured visible absorption spectrum of molecular chlorine.’ Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 13, 15318.

14. Pope F.D. (2010) ‘Pollen grains are efficient cloud condensation nuclei.’ Environ. Res. Lett. 5, 004015.

13. Pope F.D., P.J. Gallimore, S.J. Fuller, M. Kalberer. (2010) ‘Ozonolysis of maleic acid aerosols: Initial results on aerosol hygroscopicity and volatility.’ Environ. Sci. Technol. 44, 6656.

12. Pope F.D., B.J. Dennis-Smither, P.T. Griffiths, S.L. Clegg, R.A. Cox. (2010) ‘Laboratory and modelling studies of aerosols comprised of malonic acid, glutaric acid, and their mixtures with sodium chloride: Part II volatility.’ J. Phys. Chem. A. 114, 10156.

11. Pope F.D., B.J. Dennis-Smither, P.T. Griffiths, S.L. Clegg, R.A. Cox. (2010) ‘Laboratory and modelling studies of aerosols comprised of malonic acid, glutaric acid, and their mixtures with sodium chloride: Part I hygroscopic growth.’ J. Phys. Chem. A. 114, 5335.

10. Pradhan M., M. Kalberer, P.T. Griffiths, C.F. Braban, F.D. Pope, R.A. Cox, R.M. Lambert. (2010) ‘Uptake of gaseous hydrogen peroxide by submicron titanium dioxide aerosol as a function of relative humidity.’ Environ. Sci. Technol. 44, 1360.

9. Pope F.D., L. Harper, B.J. Dennis-Smither, P.T. Griffiths, S.L. Clegg, R.A. Cox. (2010) ‘Laboratory and modelling studies on the hygroscopic properties of two humic acid aerosols.’ J. Aerosol Sci. 41, 457.

8. Carbajo P.G., S.C. Smith, A.-L. Holloway, C.A, Smith, F.D. Pope, D.E. Shallcross, A.J. Orr-Ewing. (2008) ‘Ultraviolet photolysis of HCHO: Absolute HCO quantum yields by direct detection of the HCO radical photoproduct.’ J. Phys. Chem. A. 112, 12437.

7. Pope F.D., K.D. Bayes, J.C. Hansen, R.R. Friedl, R. Salawitch, S.P. Sander. (2007) ‘UV absorption cross sections of the chlorine monoxide dimer (ClOOCl).’ J. Phys. Chem. A. 111, 4322.

6. Smith C.A., F.D. Pope, B. Cronin, C.B. Parkes and A.J. Orr-Ewing. (2006) ‘High-resolution absorption cross sections of formaldehyde at wavelengths from 300 to 340 nm at 294 and 245 K.’ J. Phys. Chem. A. 110, 11645.

5. Nicovich J.M., S. Parathasarathy, F.D. Pope, A.T. Pegus, M.L. Mckee and P.H. Wine. (2006) ‘Kinetics, mechanism, and thermochemistry of the gas phase reaction of atomic chlorine with dimethyl sulfoxide.’ J. Phys. Chem. A. 110, 6874.

4. Pope F.D., C.A. Smith, P.R. Davis, D.E. Shallcross, M.N.R. Ashfold and A.J. Orr-Ewing. (2005) ‘Photochemistry of formaldehyde under tropospheric conditions.’ Faraday Discuss. Chem. Soc. 130, 59.

3. Pope F.D., C.A. Smith, M.N.R. Ashfold, A.J. Orr-Ewing (2005) ‘High-resolution absorption cross sections of formaldehyde at wavelengths from 313 to 320 nm.’ Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 7, 79.

2. Seakins P.W., D.L. Lansley, A. Hodgson, F. Pope. (2002) ‘New Directions: Mobile laboratory reveals new issues in urban air quality.’ Atmos. Environ. 36, 1247.

1. Pope F.D., J.M. Nicovich, P.H. Wine. (2002) ‘A temperature-dependent kinetics study of the reaction of O(3P) with (CH3)2SO.’ Int. J. Chem. Kinet. 34, 156.


Book Chapters

4. Harrison R.M., F.D. Pope and Z. Shi (2015) ‘Trends in Local Air Quality 1970-2014’ Book chapter within‘Issues in Environmental Science and Technology – Still only one Earth: Progress in the 40 years since the first UN conference on the environment’ Ed. R.M. Harrison, RSC Publishing.

3. Thornes J.E. and F.D. Pope (2014) ‘Why do we need solutions to enhanced greenhouse warming?’ Book chapter within ‘Issues in Environmental Science and Technology – Geoengineering for Climate Regulation’ Ed. R.M. Harrison, RSC Publishing.

2. Harrison R.M., F.D. Pope and Z. Shi (2013) ‘Pollution, Air’ Chapter within ‘Encyclopaedia of Physical Science and Technology (Third Edition)’ Ed. S. Elias, Elsevier.

1. MacKenzie R.A. and F.D. Pope (2013) ‘Chemistry and pollution of the stratosphere’ Book chapter within ‘Pollution: causes, effects and control’ Ed. R.M. Harrison, RSC Publishing.

View all publications in research portal