Allen L. Robinson is the David and Susan Coulter Head and Raymond J. Lane Distinguished Professor of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and a professor within the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. He is the director of the EPA-funded Center for Air, Climate, and Energy Solutions (CACES).

Robinson’s research examines technical and policy issues related to the impact of emissions from energy systems on air quality and climate. His activities include process-oriented field and laboratory experiments, development and evaluation of mathematical models to describe atmospheric processes, exposure characterization, and the application of models for policy analysis and decision making. He teaches courses on graduate and undergraduate courses on thermodynamics, atmospheric chemistry, air pollution control, climate change mitigation, combustion, and air quality engineering.

Robinson joined Carnegie Mellon in 1998 after working for two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Combustion Research Facility at Sandia National Laboratories. In 2009-2010, Robinson was a visiting faculty fellow at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder. In 2012 he was a professor at Colorado State University in the Departments of Atmospheric Science and Mechanical Engineering, before returning to Carnegie Mellon as department head of Mechanical Engineering.

Robinson received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in Mechanical Engineering in 1996 and his B.S. in Civil Engineering from Stanford University in 1990. Robinson received the George Tallman Ladd Outstanding Young Faculty Award from Carnegie Mellon University in 2000, the Ahrens Career Development Chair in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 2005, the Raymond J. Lane Distinguished Professorship in 2013, and the American Geophysical Union ASCENT award in 2015. He is also the former president and an elected fellow of the American Association for Aerosol Research (AAAR).

401 Scaife Hall
Google Scholar
Allen Robinson

The Role of AI and Machine Learning in Mechanical Engineering

Vehicle Emissions: Effects on Air Quality

Improved Cook Stoves: Effects on Air Quality


1996 Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley

1993 MS, Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley

1990 BS, Civil Engineering, Stanford University

Media mentions

CMU Engineering

COVID and pollution

A team of Carnegie Mellon researchers found that Pittsburgh’s air pollution levels decreased during the stay-at-home order—but the overall impact remains small.


Robinson appointed university professor

MechE Department Head Allen Robinson was appointed a University Professor by Carnegie Mellon University.

CMU Engineering

MechE Magazine 2020

Haven't yet read the 2020 issue of our annual MechE Magazine? You can read it here.

CMU Engineering

Transforming the toolbox

The true impact of AI and machine learning occurs when these technologies are translated into the physical world. This is the role of mechanical engineers — and we’re leading the way.

Bloomberg Environment

Cohon, Robinson, and Muller published in Bloomberg Environment about natural gas extraction

CEE/EPP’s Jared Cohon, EPP’s Nicholas Muller, and MechE Head Allen Robinson published a letter about the costs of gas extraction in Bloomberg Environment.

CMU Engineering

Study verifies a missing piece to urban air quality puzzle

CMU researchers get closer to solving a long-standing air quality mystery.

Scientific American

Robinson published op-ed in Scientific American

MechE Head Allen Robinson published an opinion piece in Scientific American about air quality in the United States and the work that still needs to be done to improve it. ”There is emerging evidence of significant public health impacts of fine-particle pollution,” he noted. “More than 30,000 premature deaths could be avoided by tightening the standard—with greater impacts, on average, in counties that have lower incomes and higher poverty rates.”


Robinson on air quality studies

MechE Head Allen Robinson was quoted by WHYY about two recent studies about the impact of air quality. According to the studies, if air quality standards were tightened, thousands of lives could be saved from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases caused by pollution.

CMU Engineering

Saving lives with cleaner air

More than 30,000 U.S. lives could be saved by reducing air pollution levels below the current air quality standard, two studies from the Center for Air Quality, Climate, and Energy Solutions find.

90.5 WESA

Robinson discusses Pittsburgh’s air quality with 90.5 WESA

The American Lung Association listed Pittsburgh among the 10 most polluted in the country. To get a better sense of the story, 90.5 WESA’s Liz Reid spoke with MechE Head Allen Robinson about Pittsburgh’s changing air quality.

CMU Engineering

Could U.S. wildfires be contributing to heart disease?

U.S. wildfires pose a serious threat to human health—and not just in the area of the burn.


Robinson agrees Pittsburgh air quality is complicated

MechE’s Allen Robinson was recently quoted by WESA about Pittsburgh’s ranking among the top 10 most polluted cities. Robinson agrees that Pittsburgh’s ranking does not tell the whole story, and he’s working to get a clearer picture of the city’s air quality.