Professor Kimberly A. Prather, Ph.D.
Distinguished Chair in Atmospheric Chemistry, Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Scripps Institution of Oceanography Distinguished Professor
Professor Kimberly A. Prather is the Distinguished Chair in Atmospheric Chemistry and Distinguished Professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at University of California, San Diego.
Prather has authored over 200 publications in a wide range of scientific journals. A primary focus of her research involves understanding how aerosols impact climate, with an emphasis on their role in modifying clouds and precipitation processes.
Prather invented a technique known as aerosol time-of- flight mass spectrometry (ATOFMS) that allows one to continuously measure the size and chemical composition of individual aerosol particles. This instrument is being used in atmospheric field studies worldwide to determine the major sources of atmospheric aerosols which are impacting human health, air quality, and climate.
She is the founding Director of the NSF Center for Aerosol Impacts on Chemistry of the Environment (CAICE), an NSF Center for Chemical Innovation. CAICE has transferred the full complexity of the ocean-atmosphere system into the laboratory to investigate how phytoplankton, bacteria, and viruses in the ocean influence atmospheric chemistry, clouds, and climate.
She has received numerous honors for her research including, but not limited to, being elected into the National Academy of Engineering (2019) and the National Academy of Sciences (2020). She is an elected fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Geophysical Union, and Association for the Advancement of Arts and Sciences.
A major effort in the Prather group involves unraveling the impacts of humans and how they are affecting climate and ocean ecosystems. As part of this, as co-PI on an NSF funded project, Prather is involved in building the Scripps Ocean Atmosphere Research Simulator (SOARS), a state-of-the art wind-wave channel that will be able to reproduce ocean conditions (winds, temperature) with unprecedented accuracy. This new system will enable scientists to explore how pollutants from human activities alter the chemistry of the ocean and atmosphere.