Dickson Prize Award Ceremony and Lecture

  • Cohon University Center
  • Rangos Ballroom
  • Presidential Chair in Science, and
  • Professor of Chemistry
  • University of Oregon

Surf, Sink or Swim: Understanding Environmentally Important Processes at Water Surfaces

Although the special properties of water have been valued and appreciated for centuries, as scientists we continue to be perplexed by the molecular make-up of water in all its forms.  Equally perplexing is the surface of water, the entry gate for anything going into our water.  This presentation will highlight what we have learned in our laser and theoretical studies about the intriguing molecular characteristics of a water surface and how its behavior plays a role in environmentally important processes.

Dr. Geraldine (Geri) Richmond is the Presidential Chair in Science and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oregon. Her research using laser spectroscopy and computational methods focusses on understanding environmentally and technologically important processes that occur at liquid surfaces. Over 200 publications have resulted from the studies conducted in her laboratory with undergraduate students, graduate students and postdoctoral associates. Richmond is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has served in leadership roles on many international, national and state governing and advisory boards. She is currently serving as a member of the National Science Board, as Secretary of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and President of Sigma Xi Scientific Honor Society. She is recent past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the U.S. Science Envoy to the Lower Mekong River Countries. Richmond is the founding director of COACh a grass-roots organization formed in 1998 that has helped over 20,000 women scientists and engineers in career advancement in the U.S. and developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Awards for her scientific accomplishments include the 2018 Priestley Medal from the American Chemical Society (ACS), the Linus Pauling Medal Award, the National Medal of Science, the American Phyical Society Davisson-Germer Prize, the ACS Joel H. Hildebrand Award in the Theoretical and Experimental Studies of Liquids, the Speirs Medal from the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the ACS Olin-Garvan Medal. Awards for her education, outreach and science capacity building efforts include the ACS Charles L. Parsons Award for Outstanding Public Service, the ACS Award for Encouraging Women in the Chemical Sciences, and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

CMU's Dickson Prize in Science was established in 1969 by the late Pittsburgh physician Joseph Z. Dickson and his wife Agnes Fisher Dickson. One of the most prestigious awards bestowed by Carnegie Mellon, the prize recognizes substantial achievements or sustained progress in the fields of engineering, the natural sciences, computer science or mathematics.