Prof. Kimberly A. Prather

Distinguished Professor and Chair in Atmospheric Chemistry

Director, NSF Center for Aerosol Impacts on Chemistry of the Environment University of California, San Diego


Office phone: 858-822-5312

Twitter: @kprather88

Professor Kimberly Prather is Distinguished Professor and Distinguished Chair in Atmospheric Chemistry at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, San Diego. In April 2020, she was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in honor of outstanding contributions to aerosol chemistry. In February 2019, she became the first woman at UC San Diego to be elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) for contributions including “technologies that transformed understanding of aerosols and their impacts on air quality, climate, and human health.”

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 focuses on developing a better understanding of how ocean biology influences atmospheric chemistry, clouds, and climate.

She has authored over 200 publications in refereed scientific journals. Some of her more recent awards include election into the National Academy of Sciences (2020), National Academy of Engineering (2019), the 2020 American Chemical Society Frank H. Field & Joe L. Franklin Award for Outstanding Achievement in Mass Spectrometry, 2018 Chancellor’s Associates Excellence Award in Research in Science and Engineering, 2015 Haagen-Smit Clean Air Award, the 2010 American Chemical Society Award for Creative Advances in Environmental Science & Technology. 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.

Early in her career, Professor Prather developed a technique known as aerosol time-of-flight mass spectrometry that is being used in atmospheric field studies worldwide to determine the sources of atmospheric aerosols. A primary focus of her research involves understanding how aerosols impact climate, with a major emphasis on their role in modifying clouds and precipitation processes.

She also serves as co-Principal Investigator on a project to build the Scripps Ocean Atmosphere Research Simulator (SOARS), a new state-of-the art wind-wave channel that will mimic the ocean with unprecedented accuracy, enabling scientists to explore how the introduction of pollutants by human activities is changing the chemistry of the ocean and atmosphere. Slated for operation in summer of 2020, SOARS will be the only facility in the world capable of simulating future atmospheres with increasing pollution under different ocean and atmospheric conditions.

Curriculum Vitae