Award-winning chemist Geraldine Richmond is now the head of the US Department of Energy’s science programs. The US Senate confirmed her Nov. 4 to the job of DOE undersecretary for science and energy, a position overseeing department research, funding for academic investigators, and the agency’s national laboratories.
Richmond has been the Presidential Chair in Science and a chemistry professor at the University of Oregon. She won the Priestley Medal—the highest honor of the American Chemical Society—in 2018 for her groundbreaking work describing the molecular properties of liquid surfaces (ACS publishes C&EN). She also received the National Medal of Science in 2016. Richmond is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has served on the National Science Board, the governing board of the National Science Foundation.
In her new position, Richmond is in charge of DOE’s fundamental research in basic energy sciences, biological and environmental sciences, and computational sciences. Her purview also includes funding for research in materials and chemical sciences, with a budget of more than $8 billion a year.
“Richmond has made historic contributions to the fields of chemistry and physics and has diligently applied that research to power breakthroughs in the fight against the climate crisis,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm says in a statement on Richmond’s confirmation.