Image: Geraldine Richmond, University of Oregon. (Image courtesy Geraldine Richmond.)
Alumna Geraldine Richmond (Ph.D. '80, Chem with George Pimentel), Presidential Chair in Science and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oregon will speak at this year's College of Chemistry commencement in May.
Her research examines the chemistry and physics that occurs at the junction of complex surfaces with relevance to important problems in energy production, environmental remediation and atmospheric chemistry. Using a combination of laser-based methods and theoretical simulations, her most recent efforts have focused on understanding environmentally important processes of water surfaces.
Specifically, her lab is looking at several interelated research areas: The first examines environmentally important chemistry that occurs on atmospheric aerosols; and marine and fresh water surfaces; and on the nature of adsorption, solvation and reactivity of gases and small organic molecules on the surface of aqueous solutions. The second area focuses on understanding what happens to the molecular behavior of the surface of water when covered with oil and how surfactants, dispersants and polymers assemble and organize at that fluid junction.
Richmond serves as a member of the board of the National Science foundation (Obama appointee) and as secretary of the Board of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has been awarded the National Medal of Science, the ACS Priestley Medal, the ACS Olin-Garvan Medal, the ACS Joel H. Hildebrand Award in the Theoretical and Experimental Study of Liquids, and the APS Davisson-Germer Prize for Atomic or Surface Physics among her many honors.
She is an advocate for diversity in the scientific workforce founding COACh (Committee on the Advancement of Women Chemists), a grass-roots organization formed in 1998 that has helped in the career advancement of over 20,000 women scientists and engineers in the U.S., and in more than 20 developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. With its base of operation at the University of Oregon, COACh is governed by an international advisory board of leading women scientists and engineers.
COACh's focus is to increase the number and career success of women scientists and engineers through innovative programs and strategies. COACh has been expanding its outreach efforts to women scientists and engineers in the United States and developing countries through a series of unique and in-country career training and networking activities. These activites provide avenues for networking and mentoring of scientists and engineers at all levels to assist them in their research, teaching and career advancement.
This effort, which was initially limited to women chemists, now offers events for all women in the physical sciences: biology, bio-medical, physics, geoscience, mathematics, computer science and chemical engineers.