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Spencer Steinberg

Professor, Environmental & Organic Chemistry
Department of Chemistry
Office: CHE 210
Phone: 702-895-3599
Fax: 702-895-4072

Expert Areas

Environmental Organic Chemistry


Post Doctoral Studies, Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, University of California, Los Angeles, 1982-1984. 
Ph.D., Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, 1982. 
B.A. (Summa Cum Laude), Chemistry, Revelle College, University of California, San Diego, 1978. 

Current Research Projects

Sorption of Volatile Organic Compounds on Desert Soil

The effect of organic matter, moisture and surface modification by surfactants on sorption of various volatile compounds by soil is being investigated along with a variety of soil preservation methods. This project is presently funded through DOE.

Characterization of Organic Matter in Lake Mead

Aquatic humic substances play an important role in environmental transport of hydrophobic organic chemicals and trace elements.  In addition, they form a variety of disinfection by products that may have health implications. The molecular weight, chemical and spectroscopic properties of aquatic humic materials in lake mead are being investigated.  This project is presently funded by the Southern Nevada Water Authority.

Colloidally Mediated Transport of Actinides in Groundwater

Stable colloidal material in groundwater may represent a vehicle for enhanced transport of radio-nuclides. This study examined the capacity of colloids for sorption of actinides and investigates the composition and size of colloidal material. This project was approved by the Department of Energy for funding in January of 1997. 

Selected Publications

Lantis I. Osemwengie*, Spencer Steinberg (2001) Insitu-Solid Phase Extraction and Laboratory Analysis of Trace Synthetic Musks in Municipal Effluent using GC/MS Full-scan mode. J. Chromatography (in press).

Jing, Linhong, Steinberg, S.; Johnson, B.J. (2001) Monocyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon and Aldehyde concentrations at an Urban Site in Las Vegas, Nevada.  J. Air and Waste Management Assoc. (in press).

Kawamura, K.; Steinberg, S., Kaplan, I.R. (2001) Wet deposition of low molecular weight mono- and di-carboxylic acids, aldehydes and inorganic species in Los Angeles, Atmospheric Environment 35, 3917-3926.

Kawamura, K.; Steinberg, S.; Kaplan, I.R. (2000) Homologous series of C1-C10 monocarboxylic acids and C1-C6 carbonyls in Los Angeles air and motor vehicle exhausts. Atmospheric Environment 34, 4175-4191.

Johnson, E. A.; Rudin, M.J.; Steinberg, S. M.; Johnson, W. H. (2000) Sorption of selenite on Various Cement Formulations. Waste Management 7, 509-516.

George, S.; Steinberg, S. M. ; Hodge Vernon (2000) The Concentration, Apparent Molecular Weight and Chemical Reactivity of Silica from Groundwater in Southern Nevada, Chemosphere 40, 57-63.

Tran, N.C; Steinberg S. M.; Johnson, B. J. (1999) Volatile Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Dicarboxylic Acids in Air in an Urban Site in the Southwestern U.S. Atmospheric Environment 34, 1845-1852.

Steinberg, Spencer M.; Swallow, Charles Charles E.; Ma, W.K. (1999) Vapor Phase Sorption Of Benzene by Cationic Surfactant Modified Soil.  Chemosphere 38, 2143-2152.

Steinberg, Spencer M.; Schmeltzer, J. S.; Kreamer, D. K. (1996) Sorption of Benzene and Trichloroethylene (TCE) on a Desert Soil: Effects of Moisture and Organic Matter.  Chemosphere 33 (5), 961-980.

Kawamura, K.; Steinberg, S. M.; Kaplan, I.R. (1995) Concentrations of Mono- and Dicarboxylic Acids and Aldehydes in Southern California Wet Precipitation: Comparison of Urban and Non-Urban Samples and Compositional Changes During Scavenging. Atmospheric Environment 30(7), 1035-1052.

Steinberg, S. M.; Walker, J. (1995) Colorimetric Analysis of Benzene for Use in Environmental Screening.  Chemospere 31, 3771-3781.

Steinberg, S. M.; Poziomek, E.J.; Engleman, W.H. (1995) A Review of the Environmental Applications of Bioluminescence Measurements. Chemosphere 30 (11), 2155-2197.

Steinberg, S. M.; Lena, F. (1995) Hydrolysis of Several Substituted Methyl Benzoates in Aqueous Solution.  Wat. Res. 29(3), 995-969.

Emerson, D. W.; Titus, R. L.; Steinberg, S. M.; Jones, M. D. (1994) Kinetics and Mechanism of a Double Thiocyanate-Isocyanate Isomerization: A Round Robin Rearrangement. J. Org. Chem. 59, 5109-5110.

Steinberg, S.M.; Poziomek, E.J.; Engleman, W.H. (1994) A Review of Applications of Luminescence to Monitoring of Chemical Contaminants in the Environment. Chemosphere 28, 1819-1857.

Steinberg, S.; Fairely, J. P.; Kreamer, D. K. (1994) Slow Vapor-Phase Desorption of Toluene from Several Ion-Exchanged Montmorillonites. J. Soil Contam. 3, 249-264.

D. Kreamer, K. Oja, S. Steinberg, H. Phillips (1994) Vapor Adsorption of a Solvent on Quartz Sands of Varying Grain Size, J. Env. Eng. 120, 348-359.

S. Steinberg, David Kreamer (1993) Determination of Sorption Isotherms for Volatile Organic Compounds on Unsaturated Calcareous Soil from Southern Nevada using Inverse Gas Chromatography, Environmental Science and Technology, 27, 883-888.

M. I. Venkatesan, K. Ohta, S. Stout, S. Steinberg, and J.L. Oudin (1992) Diagenetic Trends of Lignin Phenols in Mahakam Delta Coals:  Correlations Between Laboratory Simulations and Natural Samples. Organic Geochemistry, 20,463-473. 

Advisor Status

Dr. Steinberg has served as research advisor for six MS students.

Mary Turner (anticipated 2001): Analysis of Sorption of VOCs on desert soil using SPME.

Jun Liu 2000: A High Performance Liquid Chromatography System with Fenton’s Reagent for Detection of Gas Phase Hydrogen Peroxide.

Lin Hong Jing: 2000:  Simultaneous Measurement of Monoaromatic Hydrocarbons and Aldehydes in Ambient Air.

Ngoc Tran 1999: Simultaneous Measurement of Monoaromatic Hydrocarbons and Dicarboxylic Acids in Ambient Air.

Wen Kai Ma: Sorption of VOCs by Soil. Graduated July 1996.

Parvez Eavazi: Analysis of Linear Alkylbenzene Sulfonates. Graduated July 1996.

Frezewd Haile-Meskel: Collidal Interactions of Thorium. Graduated May 1996.