University of Oregon professor wins 2004 Spiers Medal

EUGENE, OR October 5, 2004It's only given once a year, to one scientist in the world. This year's Spiers Medal recipient is University of Oregon chemistry professor Geri Richmond for her pioneering research on the structure of water at surfaces.

Richmond is the 2004 recipient of the Spiers Medal, awarded by Great Britain's Royal Society of Chemistry for outstanding contributions in two main areas of physical chemistry.

"The Spiers Medal is a major honor," says Richard Linton, UO vice president for research and graduate studies. "While Professor Richmond is perhaps best known to Oregonians for her leadership on the Oregon University System board of directors, this is yet another independent confirmation that her ongoing achievements as a scientist are recognized worldwide."

Richmond's findings have implications for how we understand many important processes in our lives including biological processes, semiconductor processing, and cleaning up environmental hazards. The Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research fund her research.

At 51, Richmond is among the nation's most productive university researchers. At last count, she has published 125 papers in leading journals and new articles are pending. But it is the quality and importance of her work that places her among chemistry's elite, says Dr. Colin Bain of Oxford University's chemistry department.

"Understanding the structure of water at surfaces is one of chemistry's great challenges," Bain says. "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. Professor Richmond's innovative use of nonlinear spectroscopy-lasers-has made it possible to study liquid structure at a variety of interfaces."

Richmond was one of the first scientists to recognize the potential of an optical tool known as infrared-visible sum-f

Contact: Melody Ward Leslie
University of Oregon

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