• 2022 Mitch Lecture

    2022 3M/Ronald A. Mitsch Lecture in Chemistry

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

    Geraldine Richmond

    The 2022 3M/Ronald A. Mitsch Lecture in Chemistry, Surf, Sink, or Swim: Understanding Environmentally Important Processes at Water Surfaces, was held Friday, April 15, 2022.

    Watch the lecture

    Guest Lecturer

    Geraldine Richmond
    Presidential Chair in Science and Professor of Chemistry
    at the University of Oregon




    Although scientists have appreciated water's unique properties for centuries, the molecular makeup of water in all its forms perplexes researchers to this day. The surface of waterthe gateway for anything entering our wateris equally confounding. Dr. Geraldine Richmond and her colleagues use laser-based spectroscopic techniques and molecular dynamics simulations to study important environmental processes at aqueous surfaces. Dr. Richmond's talk will explore what they have learned about the intriguing molecular behavior of water surfaces, how its behavior plays a role in important environmental processes, and how it has guided her career beyond her expectations.


    Dr. Geraldine Richmond is the Presidential Chair in Science and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oregon and Undersecretary of Science and Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy.

    A native of Kansas, Richmond received her undergraduate degree in chemistry from Kansas State University and her PhD in physical chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. She directs several University of Oregon undergraduate research programs and has taught many introductory chemistry and science literacy courses. Richmond currently serves on the National Science Board, and she is the Secretary of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

    Throughout her career, Richmond has had the privilege of working with dozens of undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral associates in her laboratory, where she examines the chemical and physical behaviors of complex surfaces. Her research tackles challenges in fields including energy production, environmental remediation, and atmospheric chemistry. The research conducted in her laboratory with undergraduate, graduate students, and postdoctoral associates has resulted in over 220 publications.

    Richmond has been a strong advocate for diversity in the scientific workforce throughout her career. She is the founding and current director of COACh, an organization that has helped over 20,000 women scientists and engineers advance their careers since it began in 1998. Richmond is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has won numerous awards for her scientific accomplishments, including the National Medal of Science, the Priestley Medal of the American Chemical Society, the Linus Pauling Legacy Award, and the American Physical Society Davisson-Germer Prize in Surface Physics.


    The 3M/Ronald A. Mitsch Lectures in Chemistry are part of the 3M/Ronald A. Mitsch Endowed Fund in Chemistry, established in 1998 by the 3M Foundation in recognition and appreciation of Dr. Mitsch. The fund is intended to promote new connections and pioneering efforts between education and industry as an essential basis for the education of chemists who are prepared to meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century and beyond.

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