What do you do if someone suddenly drops $500,000 in your lap?
For emissions expert Michael Walsh, 62, it likely means more work to improve vehicle tailpipe emissions in countries around the world.
Last week, Walsh was named one of 25 winners of "genius" grants offered annually by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Walsh, a mechanical engineer, was with the EPA in the late 1970s, when U.S. tailpipe pollution controls were in their infancy. Since 1981 he has been an independent consultant. Much of his time is spent advising other countries on vehicle emissions.
Walsh, of Arlington, Va., was overseas last week.
In an e-mail, he credited automakers for their "tremendous success" in cleaning up vehicles for the United States. He did say, though, that the United States lags in controlling greenhouse gases.