Professor Lidia Morawska has been named by TIME Magazine as one of 2021’s most influential people, recognised for her research work in the role of aerosol transmission of COVID-19.
Morawska is a Distinguished Professor at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, and is the Director of the International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health at QUT. She assembled a team of more than 200 scientists and public health authorities to recognise the role of aerosols in spreading COVID-19, and change how we measure and lessen our risk of contracting the virus.
According to TIME, her advocacy in this space helped changed practices around the world, especially in places like schools and workplaces, ultimately making these kinds of environments safer for people during the pandemic.
“Lidia Morawska stands out among peers for her work in recognizing the importance of aerosol transmission and marshaling the data that would convince the World Health Organization and other authoritative bodies to do the same,” TIME Magazine notes.
“When trying to slow the spread of a fast-moving virus, it is essential to know how that virus is spread. In the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists overestimated the potential for contaminated surfaces to spread the virus, and we underestimated how far the aerosol particles that people exhaled could travel and remain infectious. It caused us to badly misjudge the risks in closed spaces where there was poor air circulation
TIME says that during “the fog of this viral war”, some scientists saw clearly, and Professor Morawska was one of those people.