Geraldine L. Richmond

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Geraldine Richmond
Geraldine Richmond, DOE Under Secretary.png
Geri Richmond
Under Secretary of Energy for Science
Assumed office
November 15, 2021
PresidentJoe Biden
Preceded byPaul Dabbar
Personal details
Born (1953-01-17) January 17, 1953 (age 70)
Salina, Kansas, US
SpouseStephen Kevan
EducationKansas State University (BS); University of California, Berkeley (PhD)
Known forChemistry and physics of complex surfaces and interfaces relevant to energy production, atmospheric chemistry, environmental remediation;
Advocacy and mentorship for women in science
AwardsNational Medal of Science
Davisson-Germer Prize
Garvan-Olin Medal

Geraldine Lee Richmond (born January 17, 1953 in Salina, Kansas)[1] is an American chemist and physical chemist who is serving as the Under Secretary of Energy for Science in the US Department of Energy.[2][3] Richmond was confirmed to her DOE role by the United States Senate on November 5, 2021.[4] Richmond is the Presidential Chair in Science and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oregon (UO).[5] She conducts fundamental research to understand the chemistry and physics of complex surfaces and interfaces. These understandings are most relevant to energy production, atmospheric chemistry and remediation of the environment. Throughout her career she has worked to increase the number and success of women scientists in the U.S. and in many developing countries in Africa, Asia and South America.[6] Richmond has served as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and she received the 2013 National Medal of Science.


Richmond received her B.S. in chemistry in 1975 from Kansas State University and her Ph.D. in 1980 at University of California, Berkeley, in physical chemistry.[1]


From 1980 to 1985 she was an assistant professor of chemistry at Bryn Mawr College. Since 1985, Richmond has been at UO, from 1985 to 1991 as an associate professor of chemistry, and as a professor since 1991. Until 1995 she was director of the Chemical Physics Institute. From 1998 to 2001 she was the Knight Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences and between 2002 and 2013, the Richard M. and Patricia H. Noyes Professor of Chemistry at the UO.[7] Richmond's scientific research encompasses the chemical and physical processes that occur in complex surfaces and boundary layers[8] including the structural and thermodynamic properties of solid / liquid and liquid interfaces.[9] Much of her work has utilised vibrational sum-frequency spectroscopy for studying surfaces and interfaces;[10] her review on the technique has been cited nearly 800 times since it was published.

Using these spectroscopic techniques with mixtures of H2O, D2O, and HOD, Richmond has studied the nature of hydrogen bonding surface structures and in the interfacial region.[11][12] She has also studied how these structures are perturbed by electrolytes like simple sodium halide salts[13] or acids or bases,[14] and by surfactants.[15] In examining the behavior of water at hydrophobic surfaces, Richmond found that weaker dipoles in an organic phase is more effective for orienting individual water molecules near the interface.[16] The interactions at aqueous / hydrophobic interfaces are important for understanding biochemical properties at boundaries such as cell membranes, as is the solvation of charge in such environments.[17] The study of zwitterionic species like amino acids is important for similar reasons.[18]

In 1997 Richmond co-founded COACh along with Jeanne E. Pemberton; Richmond is currently its Director.[19] COACh grassroots organization based at the University of Oregon that organizes international conferences and provides career building workshops aimed at increasing the number and success of women scientists in the U.S. and in many developing countries. Over 22,000 women have attended COACh career building workshops to date.


Richmond was appointed by Governor Kitzhaber to the Oregon State Board of Higher Education from 1999 to 2003 and reappointed by Governor Kulongoski from 2004 to 2006. From 1998 to 2003 she served as Chair of the Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (BESAC).[20] In 2014, Richmond was elected president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for a term beginning in February 2015.[21] In 2014, she was appointed by Secretary John Kerry to serve as the Science Envoy for the Lower Mekong River Countries.[22] She was appointed by President Obama to the National Science Board for a term of 2012–2016 and reappointed by President Trump from 2016 to 2022.[23] Since 2016 she has served as Secretary of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences[24] and is the 2019–2020 President of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society.[25]

Richmond is Director of the NSF funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at the University of Oregon. Started in 1987 it is one of the longest running REU program in the United States. In the over 30 years of the REU program, it has hosted over 400 undergraduates from across the country with 90% continuing to graduate school.[26]


  • 1989 Coblentz Society Spectroscopy Award[27]
  • 1993 Fellow, American Physical Society, "For seminal contributions to the understanding of dynamics at interfaces accomplished by innovative applications of nonlinear optical phenomena."[28]
  • 1996 Francis P. Garvan-Olin Medal of the American Chemical Society[29]
  • 1997 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Engineering Mentoring[30]
  • 2001 Oregon Outstanding Scientist Award, Oregon Academy of Science[31]
  • 2003 Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science[32]
  • 2004 Spiers Medal of the UK Royal Society of Chemistry[33]
  • 2006 Council on Chemical Research Diversity Award[34]
  • 2006 Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences[35]
  • 2008 Bomem-Michaelson Award[36]
  • 2008 Fellow, Association for Women in Science[37]
  • 2011 Fellow, American Chemical Society[38]
  • 2011 Joel Henry Hildebrand Award of the American Chemical Society, "For pioneering applications of nonlinear optical spectroscopies and modeling of liquid surfaces and the resulting new understanding of water structure and bonding at liquid interfaces."[39]
  • 2011 Member, National Academy of Sciences[40]
  • 2013 Charles Lathrop Parsons Award of the American Chemical Society, "For distinguished public service to chemistry through advocacy for higher education, wise counsel and leadership in national science policy, and tireless advocacy for women chemists."[41]
  • 2013 Davisson-Germer Prize for "elegant elucidation of the molecular structure and organization of liquid-liquid and liquid-air interfaces using nonlinear optical spectroscopies"[42]
  • 2013 National Medal of Science[43][44][45] for “her landmark discoveries of the molecular characteristics of water; for her creative demonstration of how her findings impact many key biological, chemical and technological processes; and for her extraordinary efforts in the United States and around the globe to promote women in science"
  • 2014 Pittsburgh Spectroscopy Award of the Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh[46]
  • 2017 Honorary Doctorate Degree, Illinois Institute of Technology[47]
  • 2017 Honorary Doctorate Degree, Kansas State University[48][49]
  • 2018 Linus Pauling Award, Northwest Region American Chemical Society
  • 2018 Priestley Medal of the American Chemical Society[50]
  • 2019 Linus Pauling Legacy Award, Oregon State University
  • 2020 Oregon History Maker, Oregon Historical Society[51]
  • 2020 Dickson Prize, Carnegie Mellon University[52]


  1. ^ a b "Array of Contemporary American Physicists: Geraldine Richmond". American Institute of Physics. 2015. Archived from the original on 2014-09-07. Retrieved 2013-09-18.
  2. ^ "President Biden Announces 16 Key Administration Nominations". The White House. 2021-04-28. Retrieved 2021-04-28.
  3. ^ "Geraldine (Geri) Richmond" (PDF). 2015-11-01. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2015-12-29.
  4. ^ "UO's Geraldine Richmond confirmed as undersecretary of science and energy for DOE". KLCC NPR for Oregonians. 2021-11-09. Retrieved 2021-11-09.
  5. ^ "Richmond website".
  6. ^ "COACh International". COACh. 2014-12-20. Retrieved 2017-06-29.
  7. ^ "Geri Richmond". Retrieved 2015-12-29.
  8. ^ "Water Research – Geraldine Richmond". Geraldine Richmond. Retrieved 2016-06-08.
  9. ^ Richmond, G. L.; Robinson, J. M.; Shannon, V. L. (1988). "Second harmonic generation studies of interfacial structure and dynamics". Progress in Surface Science. 28 (1): 1–70. Bibcode:1988PrSS...28....1R. doi:10.1016/0079-6816(88)90005-6.
  10. ^ Richmond, G. L. (2002). "Molecular bonding and interactions at aqueous surfaces as probed by vibrational sum frequency spectroscopy". Chemical Reviews. 102 (8): 2693–2724. doi:10.1021/cr0006876. PMID 12175265.
  11. ^ Raymond, E. A.; Tarbuck, T. L.; Brown, M. G.; Richmond, G. L. (2003). "Hydrogen-bonding interactions at the vapor/water interface investigated by vibrational sum-frequency spectroscopy of HOD/H2O/D2O mixtures and molecular dynamics simulations". Journal of Physical Chemistry B. 107 (2): 546–556. doi:10.1021/jp021366w.
  12. ^ Walker, D. S.; Richmond, G. L. (2007). "Understanding the effects of hydrogen bonding at the vapor−water interface: Vibrational sum frequency spectroscopy of H2O/HOD/D2O mixtures studied using molecular dynamics simulations". Journal of Physical Chemistry C. 111 (23): 8321–8330. doi:10.1021/jp070493v.
  13. ^ Raymond, E. A.; Richmond, G. L. (2004). "Probing the molecular structure and bonding of the surface of aqueous salt solutions". Journal of Physical Chemistry B. 108 (16): 5051–5059. CiteSeerX doi:10.1021/jp037725k.
  14. ^ Tarbuck, T. L.; Ota, S. T.; Richmond, G. L. (2006). "Spectroscopic studies of solvated hydrogen and hydroxide ions at aqueous surfaces". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 128 (45): 14519–14527. doi:10.1021/ja063184b. PMID 17090035.
  15. ^ Conboy, J. C.; Messmer, M. C.; Richmond, G. L. (1996). "Investigation of surfactant conformation and order at the liquid−liquid interface by total internal reflection sum-Ffrequency vibrational spectroscopy". Journal of Physical Chemistry. 100 (18): 7617–7622. CiteSeerX doi:10.1021/jp953616x.
  16. ^ Hore, D. K.; Walker, D. S.; Richmond, G. L. (2008). "Water at hydrophobic surfaces: When weaker is better". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 130 (6): 1800–1801. CiteSeerX doi:10.1021/ja0755616. PMID 18201083.
  17. ^ Scatena, L. F.; Richmond, G. L. (2004). "Aqueous solvation of charge at hydrophobic liquid surfaces". Chemical Physics Letters. 383 (5–6): 491–495. Bibcode:2004CPL...383..491S. doi:10.1016/j.cplett.2003.10.158.
  18. ^ Watry, M. R.; Richmond, G. L. (2002). "Orientation and conformation of amino acids in monolayers adsorbed at an oil/water interface as determined by vibrational sum-frequency spectroscopy". Journal of Physical Chemistry B. 106 (48): 12517–12523. CiteSeerX doi:10.1021/jp021469e.
  19. ^ "About". COACh. 2014-12-20. Retrieved 2017-06-29.
  20. ^ "BESAC 2017–2018 Membership| U.S. DOE Office of Science (SC)". Retrieved 2017-06-29.
  21. ^ "Geraldine Richmond Chosen to Serve as AAAS President-Elect". AAAS – The World's Largest General Scientific Society. Retrieved 2015-12-29.
  22. ^ "Announcement of U.S. Science Envoys". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 2015-12-29.
  23. ^ "National Science Board". National Science Board. Retrieved 2015-12-29.
  24. ^ "Board, Council, and Trust – American Academy of Arts & Sciences". Archived from the original on 2015-08-01. Retrieved 2017-06-29.
  25. ^ "Geraldine Richmond". Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  26. ^ "Homepage | REU". Retrieved 2015-12-29.
  27. ^ "The Coblentz Award – The Coblentz Society". Retrieved 2016-06-08.
  28. ^ "APS Fellow Archive – Geraldine L. Richmond". Retrieved 2016-06-08.
  29. ^ "Francis P. Garvan-John M. Olin Medal". American Chemical Society. Retrieved 2016-06-08.
  30. ^ "Geraldine Richmond – Richard M. and Patricia H. Noyes Professor of Chemistry – paesmem". Retrieved 2016-06-08.
  31. ^ "Oregon Academy of Science – Outstanding Oregon Scientist". Oregon Academy of Science. 2008. Archived from the original on 2009-04-09. Retrieved 2016-06-07.
  32. ^ "Fellows – AAAS MemberCentral". Retrieved 2016-06-08.[permanent dead link]
  33. ^ Leich, Megan A.; Richmond, Geraldine L. (2005-12-17). "Spiers Memorial Lecture". Faraday Discussions. 129: 1–21, discussion 89–109. doi:10.1039/B415753M. ISSN 1364-5498. PMID 15715295.
  34. ^ "Oregon chemist Geri Richmond to receive Council for Chemical Research Diversity Award". EurekAlert!. Retrieved 2016-06-08.
  35. ^ "Members of the Academy" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 2015.
  36. ^ "Bomem-Michelson Awards". Retrieved 2016-06-08.
  37. ^ "Awards fellows list – AWIS". Retrieved 2016-06-08.
  38. ^ "2011 ACS Fellows". American Chemical Society. Retrieved 2016-06-08.
  39. ^ "ACS 2011 National Award Winners". American Chemical Society. Archived from the original on 2016-08-18. Retrieved 2015-12-29.
  40. ^ "Geraldine Richmond". Retrieved 2016-06-08.
  41. ^ "2013 National Award Recipient Citations". American Chemical Society. Archived from the original on 2018-01-30. Retrieved 2015-12-29.
  42. ^ "APS Physics – DAMOP – Recipient". Retrieved 2015-12-29.
  43. ^ "President Obama honors nation's leading scientists and innovators | NSF – National Science Foundation". Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  44. ^ "NSTMF". NSTMF. 22 December 2015. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  45. ^ "NSTMF – Geraldine L. Richmond". NSTMF. Retrieved 2016-06-07.
  46. ^ "Pittsburgh Spectroscopy Award" (PDF). Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh. 2016. Retrieved 2016-06-07.
  47. ^ IIT Today (2017-05-13), 2017 Illinois Institute of Technology Commencement – Main Ceremony, retrieved 2017-06-29
  48. ^ Jackson, Kristina. "Richmond: We all bring different perspectives to a problem". The Mercury. Retrieved 2017-06-29.
  49. ^ K-State (2017-05-04), 2017 Honorary Degree Dr. Geraldine Richmond, retrieved 2017-06-29
  50. ^ Lemonick, Sam (March 19, 2018). "Meet Geraldine Richmond, 2018 Priestley Medalist". Chemical & Engineering News. Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  51. ^ "History Makers". Oregon Historical Society. Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  52. ^ University, Carnegie Mellon. "Homepage – Dickson Prize in Science – Carnegie Mellon University". Retrieved 30 March 2022.

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