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Geraldine Richmond To Lead AAAS

Elections: Surface chemist and long-time advocate for women in science and engineering to head scientific society in 2015

by Elizabeth K. Wilson
January 30, 2014 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 92, ISSUE 5

Richmond
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Credit: U of Oregon
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Credit: U of Oregon

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has chosen eminent chemist Geraldine L. (Geri) Richmond as its newest president-elect.

Richmond will serve for three years as an officer and member of the executive committee of the AAAS Board of Directors starting on Feb. 18. She will take over as president on Feb. 16, 2015.

Richmond, chemistry professor and Presidential Chair in Science at the University of Oregon, Eugene, combines both theory and experiment in her research on the chemistry of surfaces and at interfaces.

She is also founder and chair of COACh (the Committee on the Advancement of Women Chemists), an organization that aims to promote the success of women in chemistry.

“I am honored and delighted to be elected by my peers as the next AAAS president,” Richmond says. “My goal is to be a strong and vocal advocate for national and international science on the issues of advancing research and innovation, ensuring a strong and diverse workforce, and fostering international collaborations to address issues of global need.”

Cynthia J. Burrows, chemistry professor at the University of Utah and a COACh advisory board member, says Richmond “has amazing ability to inspire people and mobilize them to do things.”

Richmond’s work with COACh has already had an impact on other disciplines such as geology and engineering, Burrows adds. “It’s completely natural that her work in the chemistry community will translate to a broader picture of science.”

Richmond, an ACS member, has won numerous ACS awards, including the 2013 Charles Lathrop Parsons Award, the 2011 Joel Henry Hildebrand Award in the Theoretical & Experimental Chemistry of Liquids, the 2005 ACS Award for Encouraging Women into Careers in the Chemical Sciences, and the 1996 Francis P. Garvan-John M. Olin Medal.

Other ACS members elected to AAAS office this year include board of directors members Carlos J. Bustamante of the University of California, Berkeley, and Laura H. Greene of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and committee on nominations members Sylvia T. Ceyer of MIT and Alice Petry Gast of Lehigh University. Former ACS president Bruce E. Bursten of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, was selected to be Chemistry Section chair-elect.

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