Geraldine (Geri) Richmond is the Presidential Chair in Science and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oregon where she has been since 1985. A native of Kansas, she received her undergraduate degree in chemistry from Kansas State University and her Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. Her educational efforts have focussed largely on introductory chemistry and science literacy courses as well as being the director of several University of Oregon undergraduate research programs. Her research examines the chemistry and physics that occurs at complex surfaces that have 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 focussed on understanding environmentally important processes at water surfaces. Over 200 publications have resulted from the studies conducted in her laboratory with undergraduate, graduate students and postdoctoral associates.
Throughout her career Richmond has had the privilege of working with dozens of fantastic undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral associates in her laboratory. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Awards for her scientific accomplishments include the National Medal of Science, the American Chemical Society (ACS) Olin-Garvan Medal, the ACS Joel H. Hildebrand Award, and the American Physical Society(APS) Davisson-Germer Prize in Surface Physics and the 2018 ACS Priestley Medal. She is a Fellow of the ACS, APS, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) and the Society of Applied Spectroscopists (SAS).
Richmond has held numerous leaderships roles in the national and international scientific arena throughout her career. She is currently serving on the National Science Board (Obama appointee) and is Secretary of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has recently served and as U.S. State Department Science Envoy to the SE Asian Lower Mekong River countries of Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos (Kerry appointee) and is the recent president and Chair of the Board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) . A strong advocate throughout her career for diversity in the scientific workforce, Richmond is the founding and current Director of COACh, 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 over 20 developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Awards for these 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.