From Nano To Global, Two New Books On Water

April 14, 2014

Oceans and Human Health: Implications for Society and Well-Being


Cinnamon Carlarne portraitOhio State law professor Cinnamon Carlarne, who studies international environmental law and global environmental governance, has recently turned her attention to exploring the relationship between the oceans and human well-being.

Carlarne and an international, interdisciplinary team of colleagues have edited Oceans and Human Health: Implications for Society and Well-Being, a new book out this month from Wiley Blackwell. The editorial team also includes a medical doctor, a political scientist and an ecotoxicologist, and the book itself features a foreward by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Chairman R. K. Pachauri.

"Our goal is to nurture the emerging discipline around oceans and human health and to bring together people from different fields to answer these important questions," says Carlarne. "This is a passion project for all of us."

Some of the editors were involved in a previous effort, Oceans and Human Health: Risks and Remedies. Whereas Risks and Remedies had a physical science focus, the new book looks at more of the social, political and economic questions relating to the oceans and human health in the coming decades.Cover of Oceans and Human Health book.

"There is a tendency not to think about how things like the availability of food, sea level rise, storm intensity, and ecosystem services are all tied up with the ocean," she says. "The reality is that global change is an environmental problem, but also an energy, security, human health problem." This interconnectedness and human impact is why the editors chose the term "well-being" in the book's subtitle.

In her own work, Carlarne studies the legal systems that are available to respond to environmental issues at a global level. She co-authored a chapter in the book (with collaborator John Carlarne) about the potential for regulatory reform in dealing with ocean issues and human health.

Carlarne hopes that the book will be helpful to students, scholars and policymakers worldwide as they tackle the interdisciplinary issues associated with the ongoing processes of global change.

Nanofluidics and Microfluidics: Systems and Applications


Shaurya Prakash portrait.Shaurya Prakash focuses on water issues that are more local--and much smaller. Prakash, who is an assistant professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Ohio State, builds devices for water purification and energy harvesting that are no bigger than 100 microns, the thickness of a human hair.

In teaching his students about how to design and build these micro- and nano-systems, Prakash came up against a lack of comprehensive teaching materials. "There were books on how to build them, or the underlying theory, but there wasn't--especially for engineers--a book that provided a focus on systems and applications," says Prakash. "So we take the basic theory of a micro- or nano-system, talk about how to build it, put it in a functional context and see how it all works."

One example that Prakash and his co-author, Michigan State assistant professor Junghoon Yeom, describe in the book is a sensor that can detect lead in contaminated water. The sensor uses an artificial DNA molecule attached to a probe. If lead is present in the water, the DNA breaks apart and changes the color of the test solution. Sensors like these can be combined to rapidly detect contaminant levels at lower concentrations than most commonly used technologies.
Nanofluidics and Microfluidics Book Cover
The book also illustrates many emerging uses for micro- or nano-systems, including desalination, coupled water purification/energy harvesting, and energy conversion. 

Nanofluidics and Microfluidics: Systems and Applications was published by Elsevier in January. Prakash and co-teachers A.T. Conlisk (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering) and Derek Hansford (Biomedical Engineering) used the book in their Spring semester graduate course, Introduction to Microfluidics and Nanofluidics (ME 6515).