Geraldine Richmond

Prof. Geraldine Richmond

University of Oregon



Geraldine (Geri) Richmond is the Presidential Chair in Science and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oregon. Her research using laser spectroscopy and computational methods focusses on understanding environmentally and technologically important processes that occur at liquid surfaces. Over 200 publications have resulted from studies in her laboratory.   Richmond is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has served in leadership roles on many international, national and state governing and advisory boards. She is currently serving as a member of the National Science Board, as the U.S. Science Envoy to the Lower Mekong River Countries and as Secretary of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is recent past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is the incoming president of the Sigma Xi Scientific Honor Society.  Richmond is the founding director of COACh a grass-roots organization formed in 1998 that has helped over 20,000 women scientists and engineers in career advancement in the U.S. and developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Awards for her scientific accomplishments include the 2018 Priestley Medal from the American Chemical Society (ACS), the Linus Pauling medal Award (2018), the National Medal of Science (2013), the American Phyical Society Davisson-Germer Prize (2013), the ACS Joel H. Hildebrand Award in the Theoretical and Experimental Studies of Liquids (2011) the Speirs Medal from the Royal Society of Chemistry (2004)  and the ACS Olin-Garvan Medal (1996). Awards for her education, outreach and science capacity building efforts include the ACS Charles L. Parsons Award for Outstanding Public Service (2013), the ACS Award for Encouraging Women in the Chemical Sciences (2005), and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (1997).



Surf, Sink or Swim:  Understanding Environmentally Important Processes at Water Surfaces

Although the special properties of water have been valued and appreciated for centuries, as scientists we continue to be perplexed by the molecular make-up of water in all its forms.  Equally perplexing is the surface of water, a surface that is involved in some of most important reactions in our atmosphere, a surface that can sculpt the landscape as it flows past rocks and soils, a surface that can break down the strongest of metals, and a surface across which essential nutrients and ions are constantly exchanged in life-sustaining processes in our bodies.  In our laboratory we study environmentally important processes at aqueous surfaces using laser based spectroscopic techniques and molecular dynamics simulations. I will focus my talk on our recent studies of the intriguing molecular behavior of water surfaces and how its behavior plays a role in important environmental processes.