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Dr Bryan Bzdek awarded prestigious Leverhulme Prize

Dr Bryan Bzdek

25 October 2022

Dr Bryan Bzdek, Proleptic Senior Lecturer from the School of Chemistry, is among 30 academics from across the UK who will each receive £100,000.

Awarded by the Leverhulme Trust, Philip Leverhulme Prizes are designed to recognise and facilitate the work of outstanding research scholars of proven achievement, who have made and are continuing to make original and significant contributions to knowledge in their particular field. 

Dr Bryan Bzdek and his research group explore the physical and analytical chemistry of aerosols, with particular focus on major global challenges in atmospheric science and disease transmission. These expertise have proven vital during the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing climate crisis.

Dr Bzdek’s group has made pioneering contributions to identify the surface composition of microscopic droplets, furthering understanding of how cloud droplets form in the atmosphere.

They have also been at the forefront of characterising respiratory aerosols generated by singing, playing musical instruments, exercising, and performing medical procedures, which led directly to changes in UK Government Guidance during the pandemic as well as changes in NHS guidelines for aerosol generating medical procedures.

The prize funds will help the group advance an exciting collaborative project using a novel combination of unique aerosol and spectroscopy tools to explore light-induced chemistry in aerosols. Unravelling these processes is crucial to assessing aerosol climate and health impacts. Light-induced processes driving chemical and biological phenomena in aerosols have been largely ignored but can play key roles in pollutant transformation, reaction rates and products, as well as pathogen survival.

Dr Bzdek said: "I am thrilled to receive the Philip Leverhulme Prize, which will catalyse an exciting area of research for my group: exploring how light-induced reactions proceed in microscopic aerosols and how these reactions differ from those occurring in a beaker.

“Aerosols are central to our lives, representing the largest uncertainty in human-induced climate change estimates and an important contributor to air pollution. Chemical reactions can proceed differently in aerosols due to their tiny size. If we can understand what makes chemistry in aerosols unique, we may better understand how pollutants transform in our atmosphere."


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