Kirk R. Smith

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Kirk Smith
Alma mater University of California, Berkeley A.B., M.P.H., Ph.D.
Known for First cookstove RCT
Contributions to IPCC
Awards Tyler Prize (2012)
Heinz Award (2009)
Co-Author of Nobel-Winning Climate Report (2007)
Scientific career
Fields Environmental Health
Global Health
Energy Policy
Institutions University of California, Berkeley
Doctoral advisor John Holdren

Kirk R. Smith is an expert on the health and climate effects of household energy use in developing nations. He is currently a professor of Global Environmental Health at the University of California, Berkeley, where his research focuses on the relationships among environmental quality, health, resource use, climate, development, and policy in developing countries.[1] Smith contributed a great deal to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and the work of the IPCC (including the contributions of many scientists) was recognised by the joint award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Smith is a recipient of the 2012 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement for his work with cookstoves, health, and climate. He is also credited with designing and implementing the first randomized controlled trial of the health effects of indoor air pollution (IAP) from cookstoves.[2]


Smith grew up in the California East Bay, where he attended the University of California, Berkeley. Here, he received his Bachelor of Arts (1968) in Physics and Astronomy, his Master of Public Health (1972) in Environmental Health Sciences, and his Doctorate (PhD) (1977) in Biomedical and Environmental Health with a focus on Energy & Environment.[3] His studies at Berkeley led to developments in coal-ash recycling and nuclear risk assessment, and were conducted under the advisorship of the current Science Advisor to U.S. President Barack Obama, John Holdren. After finishing his PhD, Smith moved to Hawaii where he founded the Energy Program at the East-West Center. He led the center's work on energy research problems in the Asia-Pacific regions until 1985, when he became the coordinator for environmental risk research. In 1995, Smith returned to UC Berkeley where he joined the faculty at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. He is currently a Professor of Global Environmental Health, the founder and co-Director of the university's Global Health and Environment Program, and Associate Director for International Programs at the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health.[4]

Most Notable Honors & Awards[edit]

  • Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement (2012) [5]
  • 14th Distinguished Lecture, Qatar Foundation, Doha (2012) [6]
  • Heinz Award in Environment (2009) [7]
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Mrigendra-Samjhana Medical Trust, Nepal (2009)
  • Senator Frank R. Lautenberg Award, Rutgers University (2009)
  • UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Award for Research in the Public Interest (2008)
  • Co-Author of the IPCC report on Climate Change. IPCC won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
  • Honorary University Professor, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China (2004)
  • Brian and Jennifer Maxwell Endowed Chair in Public Health (2003-2007)
  • Wesolowski Award: International Society for Exposure Analysis/Science (1999) [8]
  • Elected Member, U.S. National Academy of Sciences (1997) [9]
  • Elected Member, International Academy of Indoor Air Sciences (1997)
  • Elected by editors and scientific advisors of Science Digest as “One of America’s 100 Brightest Young Scientists” (1984)