Accomplished Chemist Geraldine Richmond to Present Helen Murray Free Lecture

Presidential Chair in Science and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oregon to speak on Feb. 6

January 24, 2020   /  

WOOSTER, Ohio – Geraldine Richmond, the Presidential Chair in Science and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oregon, will make a pair of presentations as the speaker of the Helen Murray Free Lecture at The College of Wooster on Thursday, Feb. 6.

The first lecture, “Surf, Sink, or Swim: Understanding Environmentally Important Processes at Water Surfaces,” will begin at 11 a.m., in Lean Lecture Room of Wishart Hall (303 E. University St.). Richmond will discuss the intriguing molecular behavior of water surfaces and how it plays a role in important environmental processes.

The second lecture starts at 7:30 p.m., in Lean Lecture Room of Wishart Hall and is titled “The Importance of Global Scientific Engagement.” In this presentation, Richmond will share the many stories and insights gained from her collaborative efforts with several thousand scientists and engineers in many developing countries around the globe focusing on providing nourishment and drinkable water for a world population that will soon number nine billion.

Both lectures are free and open to the public.

Richmond’s research using laser spectroscopy and computational methods focuses on understanding environmentally and technologically important processes that occur at liquid surfaces. Richmond is active in leadership roles nationally and internationally, and is a part of a special science envoy through the U.S. Department of State to several Southeast Asian countries. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is a fellow of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the American Physical Society (APS), the Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Association for Women in Science.

Awards for her scientific accomplishments include being recognized twice by U.S presidents. In 2013, she was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Obama, and she received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring in 1997 from President Clinton. She was also awarded the 2018 Priestley Medal from the ACS and the Davisson-Germer Prize for Atomic and Surface Physics from the APS, among others. Richmond is the co-founder and current chair, of COACh, a grassroots organization dedicated to increasing the representation and career success of women scientists and engineers in the U.S. and other countries.

Richmond earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Kansas State University and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.

Helen Murray Free graduated from Wooster in 1945 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. Her research in clinical chemistry revolutionized diagnostic testing, particularly the “dip-and-read” glucose tests for diabetics, and she was awarded seven patents for her clinical diagnostic test inventions. From 1987 to 1992, she chaired the ACS’s National Chemistry Week Task Force, and in 1993, she served as president of the ACS. She and her husband, Alfred, were inducted into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame in 2000, and in 2010, the ACS designated the development of diagnostic test strips as a National Historic Chemical Landmark. That same year, she was awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by President Obama.

Additional information about the lectures is available by phone (330-263-2418) or