UO’s Geri Richmond Gets Green Light as New US Under Secretary of Energy

OU chemist Geraldine Richmond has been confirmed as the federal Department of Energy’s new undersecretary for science and energy following a voice vote from the US Senate.

Richmond holds the UO Presidential Chair in Science and is a recipient of the National Medal of Science. His research focuses on understanding the molecular characteristics of water surfaces, studies relevant to environmental issues such as petroleum depollution, atmospheric chemistry and alternative energy sources.

The Under Secretary of Science oversees the Science Office of the Ministry of Energy, advises the Secretary of Energy on energy and technology matters, oversees the research and development programs of the ministry, and advises the secretary on management national DOE laboratories, among other tasks.

“It’s no surprise that Professor Richmond is chosen for such an important position,” said OU President Michael Schill. “She is the gold standard of academics and is well known for her many accomplishments as a researcher, scholar and advocate for women in science. Professor Richmond will undoubtedly be the engine of innovation and discovery for our country in this role. “

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm said Richmond’s public service record and commitment to creating an inclusive workforce will help the ministry’s efforts to shift to energy conservation clean and accelerate innovation.

“As a renowned scientist, researcher and teacher, Dr. Geraldine Richmond has made historic contributions to the fields of chemistry and physics and has diligently applied this research to achieve breakthroughs in the fight against the climate crisis,” said US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “This is why I am so grateful that the Senate has confirmed Dr. Richmond’s position as Under Secretary for Science at the Department of Energy.”

In an August appearance before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Richmond said she would be honored to lead DOE’s science programs.

“From my visits over the years to the DOE labs, I know firsthand that they are indeed the crown jewels of the country’s research and innovation arena,” he said. she declared. “These labs, along with thousands of initiatives funded by competitive DOE grants, are making groundbreaking discoveries and breakthroughs that have long made the United States the envy of the world in science and engineering.”

Among his other accomplishments, Richmond has designed advanced laser systems, optical equipment and computers that work in tandem to understand molecular processes on liquid surfaces that have environmental significance.

In addition to his presidential honors, Richmond has received many other awards, including President Clinton’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring in 1997 and the American Chemical Society’s highest honor, the Priestley Medal, in 2018. She is a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Chemical Society, American Physical Society, and Association for Women in Science.

Richmond was also a pioneer in advocating for the advancement of women in science.

In 1998, Richmond and Jeanne Pemberton of the University of Arizona co-founded COACh, the Committee for the Advancement of Women Chemists. The organization hosted a series of successful workshops on negotiation, leadership and conflict resolution for more than 15,000 women in all fields of science and engineering in the United States.

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