Geri Richmond  - University of Oregon. Eugene, OR, US

Geri Richmond Geri Richmond

Presidential Chair in Science and Professor of Chemistry, University of Oregon | University of Oregon

Eugene, OR, US

Expert in science, science policy, STEM and women in STEM.







Geri Richmond is an expert in STEM, environmental science, national and international science policy, scientific engagement in developing countries and women in science. She holds the the Presidential Chair in Science and professor of chemistry at the University of Oregon. Geri’s research research using laser spectroscopy and computational methods has put her at the forefront of understanding important environmental processes involving water and water surfaces including atmospheric chemistry, oil-water emulsions and remediation, laser science and optical properties of materials. Her teaching and outreach activities focus on science literacy and policy, and the development and implementation of career building and mentoring programs for globally engaged scientists. Richmond is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is a Fellow of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the American Physical Society (APS) and the Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She has served in leadership roles on many international, national and state governing and advisory boards including as a current member of the National Science Board, recent President of AAAS and U.S. Science Envoy for the Mekong River countries of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Burma and Thailand. Geri is the founding member and director of the highly regarded COACh program that provides programs aimed at advancing the careers of women scientists and engineers in the U.S. and round the globe including developing countries in Africa, South America, the Middle East and Central and Southeast Asia. Awards for her scientific accomplishments include the National Medal of Science from President Obama, the ACS Joel H. Hildebrand Award, the APS Davisson-Germer Prize and the Priestley Medal of the ACS. Awards for her education, outreach and science capacity building efforts include the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, the ACS Award for Encouraging Women in the Chemical Sciences and the ACS Charles L. Parsons Award.

Areas of Expertise (5)

Water and Water Resources Environmental Sustainability Global Science Engagement with the Developing World STEM Education and Policy Women in STEM

Accomplishments (1)

National Medal of Science (professional)


Media Appearances (11)

Geraldine Richmond named 2018 Priestley Medalist

Chemical & Engineering News  online


Richmond will receive the Priestley Medal, the American Chemical Society’s highest honor, in 2018.

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Is NSF feeling the Trump effect on clean energy?

Science Magazine  print


Geraldine Richmond, chair of the board committee that oversees Indicators, swears that the discussion was not motivated by politics.

“None of us wants to see Indicators become politically driven,” says Richmond, a chemistry professor at the University of Oregon in Eugene. “We would lose all our credibility if that happened.”

Richmond says panel members were focused on keeping Indicators on the cutting edge in monitoring research developments.

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Science, Engineering and Health Ph.D.s: Where Are They Now?

Inside Higher Ed  online


Geraldine Richmond, Presidential Chair of Science and professor of chemistry at the University of Oregon and chair of the board’s National Science and Engineering Policy Committee, said during a news conference that she and her colleagues believe the nation benefits from having trained scientists working in all sectors of the economy, and that the graphic will hopefully shed light on the “wide variety of career paths” scientists may pursue. Data are taken from the National Survey of Doctorate Recipients, 1993 to 2013.

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Under Trump, scientists could face more sweeping challenges than they did under George W. Bush

The Washington Post  print


“Science depends on openness, transparency, and the free flows of ideas and people,” said Geraldine Richmond, chair of the board of AAAS and a professor at the University of Oregon, at a plenary session Thursday. “Limitations on the ability of scientists to communicate with their peers and with the public through participation at meetings such as this one will harm the scientific enterprise. We must, and we will, continue to speak out publicly on these issues that are so critical for science to flourish and serve society.”

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Technology Starting with Females

Thanh Vien  


Media coverage of the Celebration of Women in Technology in the Lower Mekong River Countries, Science Envoy Program (In Vietnamese).

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To Advance Science, It's Time to Tackle Unconscious Bias (Op-Ed)

Live Science  online


Over the past year, science has revealed the chirping song of gravitational waves (ripples in space-time that confirmed Einstein's theory of general relativity), advances in using a person's own immune system to treat cancer, new insights into climate-change impacts, and findings from the first flyby of the dwarf planet Pluto and its moon, Charon.

As the world celebrates such advances, and the power of science to enhance human knowledge as well as human lives, people should also consider the opportunities that may have been missed. Deeply ingrained biases, which scientists often deny having, can creep into our otherwise objective evaluation of a project or individual. Even among the most well-meaning journal editors, science funders and peer-reviewers, this "implicit bias" can have consequences that undermine innovative ideas, the importance of discoveries and valuable contributions from the full talent pool.

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US Envoy Encourages Women To Study Sciences, Engineering

VOA  online


Geraldine Richmond says she has noticed a stronger commitment on the part of the government to better promote the learning of science, especially for young girls...

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Global Science Engagement (Op-Ed)

Science Magazine  online


In rural Laos, more than 50% of newborns will be stunted by age 2 due to chronic malnourishment. Worldwide, 161 million children under the age of 5, many of them in Africa and Asia, suffered irreversible stunting as of 2013. The developed world is not immune. As recently as 2010, stunting affected 8 to 9% of babies enrolled in U.S. federal food-subsidy programs. Next week in Washington, DC, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS is the publisher of Science) will convene its annual meeting (11 to 15 February), where world leaders will discuss food security and other major challenges that lie ahead in both the science and international policy arenas.

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US Science Envoy Sees Tech Potential in Students

Voice of America  online


Cambodia has much potential in the growth of science and technology, particularly given the motivation of young students, a US official says.

In a visit to Cambodia last week, Geraldine Richmond, the US science envoy to Southeast Asia, told VOA Khmer she was surprised to see how much passion and talent young Cambodian students have in developing technology, particularly in the design of computer apps.

During her six-day visit, which ended Sunday, Richmond gave a number of lectures on science and history to students in universities in Phnom Penh and the provinces of Kampong Cham and Siem Reap.

She encouraged the government to build more skills in the technology and telecom sectors, in order to attract more investment.

“What Cambodia needs right now is the technical workforces that can atract companies that want to be here to raise the economy,” she said. “That is not necessarily to the PhD level, but it is those people, who get out of [vocational-technical] school, get out of colleges in engineering, that can go directly to the workforce.”

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Survey Finds Americans Largely Optimistic About Science

USA Today  online


Geraldine Richmond, a physical chemist who holds the Presidential Chair in Science at the University of Oregon, said the poll showed her that Americans remain inspired by science.

"As a scientist, I get really excited to sit back and think about the opportunities that are ahead," said Richmond, who sits on the National Science Board and is scheduled to take over the presidency of the American Association for the Advancement of Science next year. "This survey shows that other people fantasize in the same way about what might be possible."

The poll asked what invention those surveyed would like to see. More than a quarter did not have an idea, while nearly 10% each said improved health and cure for diseases or time travel would be the best inventions.

Richmond said her fantasy would be to fly: "To just sort of go up into the air and go to where you want to go, without having to go through security on an airplane."

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AAAS President Sees Desire for Global Collaboration

Science Magazine  online


Geraldine Richmond started this year with visits to Thailand and Vietnam in her role as U.S. science envoy for the Lower Mekong Delta. She saw scientists there grappling with issues of coastal flooding, the impacts of dam building, and field tests of vaccines for HIV. She also saw opportunities for scientists in the U.S. and those countries to work together.

“We have a lot to learn from people and scientists in these developing countries, because many of these problems, such as those associated with climate change and water issues, are merely foreshadowing what we in the United States will have in years to come,” Richmond said.

“It just reinforced my strong belief that scientific partnerships at the scientist level—boots on the ground, lab to lab—are so critically needed on both sides,” she continued. “I believe scientists in the U.S. want to play a role in this, and that AAAS can be valuable in helping make those connections.”

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Articles (5)

Computational vibrational sum-frequency spectra of formaldehyde and hydroxymethanesulfonate at aqueous interfaces Journal of Physical Chemistry


The identity and arrangement of aqueous species at the interface of atmospheric aerosol impacts aerosol properties including albedo and propensity to uptake additional gas phase species. Formaldehyde and sulfur dioxide are two common atmospheric species that alter (individually and in concert) aqueous atmospheric aerosol interfaces. Vibrational sum frequency (VSF) spectroscopy studies of planar aqueous formaldehyde solution surfaces have shown alteration during exposure to sulfur dioxide gas. Additional changes were observed once exposure was ceased. The results suggested the formation of a new organic species, hydroxymethanesulfonate (HMS), which acts as a thermodynamic sink for aqueous sulfur dioxide and lead to acidification of the aerosol particles. The coherent nature of the VSF response and its strong dependence on surface species present and their orientations, however, made definite vibrational assignments for exact species notoriously difficult. The focus of this paper is on elucidating the species and orientations that give rise to specific experimentally derived spectral features through VSF spectra calculated using a combination of classical molecular dynamics (MD) and density functional theory (DFT). The results demonstrate that the most prevalent surface species for a formaldehyde containing aqueous solution is hydrated formaldehyde in the form of methylene glycol. Calculated VSF spectral frequencies for the proposed product HMS are in agreement with experiment. Furthermore, changes in the experimental spectra both during and after the flow of sulfur dioxide are consistent with HMS in different interfacial orientations.

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An exploration of women academic scientists’ experiences with gender in North Africa and the United States International Journal of Gender, Science and Technology


This exploratory research was conducted in conjunction with a research collaboration workshop in Morocco in March, 2013 which gathered 28 women scientists from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and the United States. In-depth interviews, conducted with 14 North African and 8 American scientists, found that North African and American women scientists had very different experiences with gender in the workplace and at home. North African women reported better representation of women in their science departments and equity in terms of salary and resources, whereas most American women felt they had to “push” to get to equality in the workplace. North African women reported challenging relationships with their women colleagues, while American women reported seeking out women scientists for support. At home, North African women reported having close to full responsibility for child and home care, which many said resulted in less engagement in research than their male peers and reluctance to take on leadership roles. In contrast, American women reported something approximating an equal partnership in handling home and child responsibilities with their husbands, which they viewed as enabling their professional success.

While there has been extensive research examining women scientists’ experiences in academia in the United States and Europe, there have been few examinations of women scientists experiences in developing countries, particularly in North Africa (Bilimoria, Joy, & Liang, 2008; De Welde & Laursen, n.d.; Rees, 2001; Stockard, Greene, Lewis, & Richmond, 2008). This study explores Algerian, Moroccan, and Tunisian women scientists’ experiences with gender in the workplace and at home, and contrasts their experiences with that of US women scientists. The research was conducted in conjunction with a March 2013 research collaboration workshop in Casablanca, Morocco conducted by COACh, a US based grass-roots organization that works to improve career success for women scientists in academia. More information on COACh can be found at their website:

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Global science engagement Science


In rural Laos, more than 50% of newborns will be stunted by age 2 due to chronic malnourishment. Worldwide, 161 million children under the age of 5, many of them in Africa and Asia, suffered irreversible stunting as of 2013. The developed world is not immune. As recently as 2010, stunting affected 8 to 9% of babies enrolled in U.S. federal food-subsidy programs. Next week in Washington, DC, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS is the publisher of Science) will convene its annual meeting (11 to 15 February), where world leaders will discuss food security and other major challenges that lie ahead in both the science and international policy arenas.

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Morphology and growth behavior of O2-free chemical bath deposited ZnS thin films Thin Solid Films


We investigate the role of reagent concentrations and ambient O2 on the morphology and growth behavior of ZnS thin films grown with the chemical bath deposition method. We investigate the role of substrate on film morphology, and find significant differences between films deposited on SiO2 versus Si. The films are also sensitive to dissolved O2 in the bath, as it causes a layer of SiO2 to form at the ZnS/Si interface during deposition. Degassing of solutions and an N2 atmosphere are effective to minimize this oxidation, allowing deposition of ZnS films directly onto Si. Under these conditions, we examine film properties as they relate to reagent bath concentrations. As the reagent concentrations are decreased, both the film roughness and growth rate decrease linearly. We also observe deformation and shifting of X-ray diffraction peaks that increases with decreasing reagent concentrations. The shifts are characteristic of lattice compression (caused by the substitution of oxygen for sulfur), and the deformation is characteristic of distortion of the lattice near crystal grain interfaces (caused by tensile stress from interatomic forces between neighboring crystal grains). At the weakest concentrations, the low roughness suggests a mixed growth mode in which both clusters and individual ZnS nanocrystallites contribute to film growth. With increasing reagent concentrations, the growth mode shifts and becomes dominated by deposition of clusters.

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Solvation station: microsolvation for modeling vibrational sum-frequency spectra of acids at aqueous interfaces Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation


Vibrational sum-frequency spectra of a pair of poly(methacrylic acid) isomers at an oil/water interface and glutaric acid at an air/water interface were calculated in the carbonyl stretching region. Orientational, conformational, and solvation information was determined using classical molecular dynamics (MD), while second-order susceptibility vibrational response tensors were determined for a set of density functional theory (DFT) structures. The DFT structures were microsolvated with water molecules corresponding to the major solvation states present in the MD calculations. The inclusion of the microsolvating waters incorporates solvation effects important to the carboxylic acid stretching modes in the studied spectral region. The calculated spectra strongly agree with experimental spectra when a cutoff of 1.975 Å is used to define a hydrogen bond in the MD trajectories. With the chosen cutoff, the most common solvation state of the carboxylic acid moieties involves a single hydrogen bond to the carbonyl oxygen and a single hydrogen bond to the carboxylic acid hydrogen. The sensitivity of the spectra to the hydrogen bond cutoff definition and the included DFT structures was investigated. Moderate changes in the relative intensities of the contributing peaks were found in both cases. Shortening the hydrogen bond cutoff definition predictably leads to a decrease in the relative intensity of peaks corresponding to well-solvated structures, while altering the set of DFT solvation structures results in more complex behavior that is dependent on the specific structures included.

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