Aerosol Scientists Try to Clear the Air About COVID-19 Transmission


Atmospheric chemist Kimberly Prather wants her day job back.

As a professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, she usually spends her days looking at pollution in the ocean and its effects on human health. But since the outbreak of the coronavirus, Prather has dedicated herself to understanding the airborne spread of the virus.

Since the airborne droplets that spread coronavirus are chemically similar to sea spray, Prather was well poised to pivot her work. “We’re very interested in viruses and bacteria that start out in the ocean, but when waves crash, they get enriched into the atmosphere,” explained Prather.

“I’ve been…



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