Geraldine Richmond


Geraldine Richmond Chemistry
B.S., Kansas State University
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley


Geraldine (Geri Richmond) is the Presidential Chair of Science and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oregon.  A native of Kansas, she received her B.S. degree in Chemistry at Kansas State University and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley.  She began her academic career as a faculty member at Bryn Mawr College in 1980.  In 1985 she joined the faculty at the University of Oregon.

Her research interests are in understanding the molecular structure and dynamics of interfacial processes that have relevance to environmental remediation, biochemistry, atmospheric chemistry and alternative energy sources.   Using a combination of laser-based surface spectroscopic methods, thermodynamic techniques and molecular dynamics simulations, her research group has made many important contributions to understanding liquid surfaces. Her most recent studies have been in understanding the hydrogen bonding structure at the surface of water, the behavior of water near hydrophobic surfaces such as oils and organic films, the assembly of macromolecules and surfactants at these interfaces and the adsorption of environmentally important gases, ions and organics at the vapor-water interface.

She has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), the American Chemical Society (ACS), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Association of Women in Science.  She has received numerous awards for her research including the APS Davisson Germer Prize in Atomic or Surface Physics (2013), the ACS Joel Henry Hildebrand Award in the Theoretical and Experimental Studies of Liquids (2011), the Spiers Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry (2004) and the ACS Olin-Garvan Medal (1996). 

Throughout her career, Richmond has been a passionate advocate for women in science.   She is the co-founder and current Chair of COACh, a grass-roots organization assisting in the advancement of women scientists and engineers in both the U.S. and in developing countries.  Over 12,000 women science and engineering faculty, researchers, students, postdocs and administrators have benefited from COACh professional training and networking workshops. For these efforts she has been awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Engineering Mentoring (1997), the American Chemical Society Award for Encouraging Women in the Chemical Sciences (2005), the Council on Chemical Research Diversity Award (2006) and the American Chemical Society Charles L. Parsons Award (2013).

Richmond has been elected as the 2015 President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and appointed by Secretary Kerry as the 2015 U.S. Science Envoy for the Lower Mekong River countries.  Richmond has also served as a Governor Appointee to the State of Oregon Board of Higher Education, Chair of the Department of Energy (DOE) Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Board, Chair of the Chemistry Section of AAAS, Member and Vice-Chair of the Secretary of Energy’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Advisory Committee, and as a Member of the Presidential Advisory Board of Research Corporation for Science Advancement.   She has testified on science issues before committees in the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives and the Oregon House of Representatives.

Richmond was appointed to the Board in 2012 and reappointed as a member of the class of 2018-2024. She stepped down from the NSB in November 2021 when she was sworn in as Under Secretary of Science and Energy for the Department of Energy.