Talking Heads Image Wins SFI Research Image of The Year 2020

An image produced by a team of researchers from BCO, CAPPA and CIT has won Science Foundation Ireland’s Research Image of The Year Award 2020. The image, entitled “Talking Heads”, was produced by researchers investigating the effectiveness off mask materials at prevent the spread of aerosol droplets. The MASK (Making Aerosol Safety Known) project was funded under SFI’s Covid-19 Rapid Response Funding Call.

The win was announced by Dr Claire O’ Connell and Minister Simon Harris. See the video below:

The multidisciplinary research combines the fields of photonics, biology, and astrophysics to analyse droplets emitted from medical dummy heads to help better understand how aerosol droplet size is affected by different mask materials. This research could prove immensely beneficial in the fight against Covid-19 as we know that the virus is primarily transmitted via aerosol droplets.


While research is ongoing, one takeaway is already very evident and is brilliantly captured by the award-winning image: Masks make a difference.

The science is very clear. Using a mask greatly reduces the number of aerosol droplets emitted into the environment, thus reducing the risk of Covid-19 transmission.


You can learn more about this project in the following panel discussion with the research team, that aired during the Cork Science Festival 2020:


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