QUT’s Distinguished Professor Lidia Morawska, an international air quality expert, has been named in the 2021 TIME100, the annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
The list, now in its eighteenth year, recognizes the impact, innovation and achievement of the world’s most influential individuals. The full list and related tributes appear online now at time.com/time100 and in the September 27 / October 4 issue of Time.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Professor Morawska has been at the forefront of a group of international experts who in 2020 alerted the world to the importance of airborne transmission of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections.
In the early months of the pandemic, she published a warning that authorities should face the reality of airborne transmission, and followed that up by leading about 240 international experts in an open letter saying it was time to address airborne transmission of COVID-19.
In May this year, Professor Morawska led a group of almost 40 researchers from 14 countries calling in the journal Science for a “paradigm shift” in combating airborne pathogens including COVID-19 and in general for clean indoor air, on the scale of the 19th century UK clean water transformation in UK. Putting this in simpler terms, for a ventilation revolution.
She also proposed a roadmap for how Australia could achieve this.
Professor Morawska is the director of International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health at QUT, a World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaborating Centre on Air Quality and Health.
She is also part of the executive of OzSAGE, a national multi-disciplinary network of experts, which recently released a preliminary advice paper with recommendations on how Australia can safely reopen in the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The most fundamental measure to eliminate the virus from indoor air is ventilation: every public building must have control measures to provide adequate ventilation,” Professor Morawska said.
Professor Morawska conducts fundamental and applied research in the interdisciplinary field of air quality and its impact on human health and the environment, with a specific focus on science of airborne particulate matter.
Professor Morawska said as a child in Krakow, Poland, she was curious about nuclear physics.
After receiving her doctorate and embarking on a career of research in nuclear physics in Poland and Canada, she then expanded her focus to atmospheric, building and human exposure science.
“The need for a purpose of my work, beyond satisfying curiosity, is what motivates me every day,” Professor Morawska said.
She is an author of over 940 journal papers, book chapters and conference papers. She has also been involved at the executive level with a number of relevant national and international professional bodies and has been regularly invited to act as an advisor to the WHO for more than 25 years.
Professor Morawska’s sustained scientific achievements have seen her recognised as one of the world’s foremost authorities in her field, and she has received many significant national and international awards including being elected a Fellow to the Australian Academy of Science in 2020.
Professor Morawska is in QUT’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences in the Faculty of Science.
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