At home in the fields of sustainability


By Charles Peckman

For Anthony Lucio, there are many reasons to bike. Despite the weather, he can be seen riding around campus year-round.


Lucio, a fifth-year graduate student in the University of Iowa Chemistry Department, said, “Even if it’s raining, I’ll bike to work.”


Lucio and wife Molly Lucio moved to Coralville in 2015, and he said biking was a form of transportation he had yet to try and a stress reliever as well.


“There are several reasons I enjoy biking,” he said. “I would consider myself a sustainability-minded person, but on top of that, it’s a money-saver as well.”


Anthony Lucio said he bikes 50 to 100 miles a week sometimes, and that is just to and from work.


Last fall, he participated in a bike-checkup event sponsored by the Office of Sustainability in which he was “tasked with tire inflation and pumped tires to the corresponding tire pressure.”


Outside of biking, he works for chemistry Assistant Professor Scott Shaw.


“[The Shaw Group] studies the liquid-solid interface,” Lucio said. “Basically, if you had a glass of water, we study the molecule of water that brushes against the molecule of glass.”


Down the road, he said, there are many applications to the work.


“It will definitely be relevant in future battery-storage applications, as well as environmental components as well,” he said.


Although the work is very fundamental in nature, Lucio said, it is crucial to understanding the interactions between liquid and solid molecules.


Continuing Lucio’s sustainable efforts, he was a fellow in last year’s Climate Narrative Project.


“I was really impressed with the diversity of students in the project,” he said. “There were students from so many different academic backgrounds.”


Lucio wrote a children’s book about the Iowa prairie, which he said, “allowed me to disseminate knowledge about the prairie in a more accessible manner.”


To Lucio, the whole point of the project is to broadcast climate information in a more user-friendly way.


Molly Lucio said, “I don’t ride with him on his adventures, but I bike with him every so often.”


She noted that they live in opposite directions for work; she works as a chiropractor.


Her husband’s work “is definitely complicated, but he’s very passionate about it,” she said.


Both she and her husband do what they can to reduce their carbon footprint.


“We try not to buy as many plastic products and things like that, anything we can do to reduce our footprint,” Molly Lucio said.


Jeff Biggers, a writer-in-residence in the Sustainability Office and founder of the Climate Narrative Project, has enjoyed Anthony Lucio’s tenure at the Climate Narrative Project.


“Bringing together science and our literary traditions, Anthony exemplified the goals of the Climate Narrative Project,” Biggers told *The Daily Iowan*.


“He rooted his research locally,” he said. “He went into the field, literally, speaking to farmers, conservationists, and biodiversity experts on prairie habitat, and then this Ph.D. candidate in chemistry wrote a brilliant children’s book on how restoration of Iowa’s prairie can serve as a model for soil-carbon sequestration, water management, and climate action.”


Biggers said Lucio is not just a great scholar, he is an effective scientist, writer, and communicator as well.


“His efforts on campus show how students can engage in our community and be catalysts for solutions,” Biggers said.​

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