Presidential Research Lecture to feature National Science Board appointee

“At the Water’s Edge” is the title of the public lecture being delivered by University of Oregon chemistry professor Geri Richmond at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 7 at the Lillis Business Complex, Auditorium 182, 955 E 13th Ave., in Eugene. Recently appointed by President Obama to the National Science Board, the governing board for the National Science Foundation, Richmond studies the simplest properties of what holds a water surface together. She serves as the UO’s Richard M. and Patricia H. Noyes Professor of Chemistry.

“Dr. Richmond views her research as a means of discovery, of training and of cultivating the scientists of tomorrow,” said Kimberly Andrews Espy, vice president for research and innovation and dean of the UO graduate school. “Her integrated passion for scientific research, teaching, and international engagement is a source of inspiration to scientists around the world.”

A 28-year veteran of the UO, Richmond is as comfortable discussing science policy as she is conducting research or training graduate students. A longtime advocate for women in science, she cofounded the Committee on the Advancement of Women Chemists (COACh), an organization that provides mentoring and support to women scientists around the globe. She has been invited to the White House, given testimony before Congress and recently won the 2013 Charles Lathrop Parsons Award for her advocacy on behalf of higher education, science policy and women scientists. She was recently awarded the American Physical Society’s 2013 Davisson-Germer Prize in Surface or Atomic Physics, and she has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. From 1999 to 2006, Richmond served on the Oregon State Board of Higher Education, the statutory governing board of the Oregon University System and its seven universities.

As the Spring 2013 Presidential Research Lecturer, Richmond is part of a new UO initiative to share the excitement of faculty research with both public and campus communities. UO President Michael Gottfredson and Vice President Espy will both be in attendance.

In her 45-minute lecture, Richmond will discuss the fundamentals behind the most important surface properties on earth — the surface of water — which can be applied to everything from oil spills to baby diapers. Water, Richmond says, bridges virtually all areas of science and technology. Her research examines some of the key chemical and physical processes of everyday life, such as how water interacts with membranes in the body and how environmental processes occur at liquid surfaces. Some of her recent projects have included an examination of sulfur dioxide absorption on aqueous surfaces (i.e., the mechanics behind atmospheric pollution and acid rain) published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society and a National Science Foundation–funded interdisciplinary collaboration with a group of physicists and chemists to boost the efficiency of solar cells.

The Presidential Research Lecture will be streamed live on the web at A question-and-answer session will follow, in which viewers may submit questions through text messaging.