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UO scientist wins international award.

Byline: The Register-Guard

A University of Oregon professor is the first woman to win one of the most prestigious international prizes in chemistry, the Spiers Medal, given by Great Britain's Royal Society of Chemistry.

Geri Richmond received the honor in recognition of her body of work on the surface chemistry of water and crystals, an important field with implications for understanding many biological and chemical processes.

She pioneered the use of sophisticated lasers to study the chemistry of liquid surfaces and liquid-liquid interfaces, such as those between oil and water.

Richmond, 51, has been at the UO since 1985. She said the award recognizes not only her work but the work of the many graduate students and postdoctoral researchers who have been part of her lab team over the years.

"It really reflects on a long-term effort in our science and a culmination of a lot of people's work," she said. "This award really recognizes the work of many graduate students and postdocs in the group, so it's as much an honor for them as for me."

Richmond is one of the UO's most productive and honored researchers. She has published 125 papers and has more in the works; her numerous awards include the Francis P. Garvan Medal from the American Chemistry Society, the Oregon Outstanding Scientist Award and the ACS Spectrochemical Analysis Award.

Her work on the chemistry of water surfaces not only has implications for biology but also in semiconductor processing and environmental remediation.

"Understanding the structure of water at surfaces is one of chemistry's great challenges," said Colin Bain of Oxford University's chemistry department. "This is at the core of understanding how proteins fold and how proteins and enzymes interact with the membrane that surrounds the cells in our bodies."

The Spiers Medal, given to just one scientist each year, also recognizes Richmond's role as a mentor to young scientists, particularly women. She received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Engineering Mentoring in 1997 and is the founding chairwoman of COACh, the Committee on the Advancement of Women Chemists.

Richmond also serves as vice president of the state Board of Higher Education and is helping direct a restructuring of the Oregon University System and its chancellor's office.

She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society and holds an endowed position as the Richard and Patricia Noyes Distinguished Professor of Chemistry.
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Title Annotation:Higher Education; Professor Geri Richmond is honored for work on the surface chemistry of water
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Oct 7, 2004
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