Othmer Gold Medal
The Othmer Gold Medal is the Science History Institute’s preeminent award. Presented during Curious Histories Fest, our free annual celebration of science, history, exploration, and experimentation, winners are chosen for their extraordinary contributions to the material sciences.
Geraldine Richmond, Under Secretary for Science and Innovation at the U.S. Department of Energy, will receive the 2023 Othmer Gold Medal during the evening portion of this year’s celebration taking place on Saturday, June 10.
Founded in 1997, the medal is named after Donald Othmer (1904–1995), a noted researcher, consultant, editor, engineer, inventor, philanthropist, professor, and coeditor of the Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. The roster of past winners includes some of the most versatile and multitalented individuals in the scientific community.
The Othmer Gold Medal is cosponsored by the American Chemical Society, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Chemists’ Club, and the American Section of the Société de Chimie Industrielle.
2023 Medalist: Geraldine Richmond
Geraldine Richmond currently serves as the Under Secretary for Science and Innovation at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In this role she oversees DOE’s Office of Science, the nation’s largest federal sponsor of basic research in the physical sciences. She also manages DOE’s applied R&D areas of nuclear, fossil, and renewable energy; energy system integrity; and the DOE national laboratories and their facilities.
She is currently on leave from the University of Oregon where she holds the Presidential Chair in Science and is a professor of chemistry. Richmond’s research throughout her career has been on the use of laser-based and computational methods to understand the molecular, adsorption structure, and dynamics at liquid surfaces that have relevance to environmental and technological interests.
In addition to being a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Richmond has also received numerous awards including the National Medal of Science (2016), the Priestley Medal from the American Chemical Society (2018), and the Linus Pauling Medal Award (2018). Her service to the nation includes two terms as a presidential appointee to the National Science Board (2012–2021) and as the U.S. State Department Science Envoy for the Lower Mekong River Countries (2015–2016).
Richmond serves on many other national and international advisory boards and is the past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Honor Society. As a career-long advocate for underrepresented groups in STEM fields, she is the founding director of COACh, a grassroots organization that has helped over 25,000 women scientists and engineers with career advancement in the U.S. and in dozens of developing countries around the world.
A native of Kansas, Richmond received her BS in chemistry from Kansas State University and her PhD in physical chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.
Previous Winners of the Othmer Gold Medal
- Jay Keasling (2022)
- Dame Carol Robinson (2021)
- Sangeeta Bhatia (2019)
- Joshua Boger (2018)
- Richard Zare (2017)
- Mukesh Ambani (2016)
- Phillip Sharp (2015)
- Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (2014)
- Harry Gray (2013)
- Marye Anne Fox (2012)
- Kazuo Inamori (2011)
- George Whitesides (2010)
- Ahmed Zewail (2009)
- Yuan Tseh Lee (2008)
- Thomas R. Cech (2007)
- Ronald C. Breslow (2006)
- James D. Watson (2005)
- Jon M. Huntsman (2004)
- George S. Hammond and John D. Baldeschwieler (2003)
- Robert S. Langer (2002)
- Gordon E. Moore (2001)
- Arnold Beckman, Special Millennium Edition (2000)
- Carl Djerassi (2000)
- P. Roy Vagelos (1999)
- Mary Lowe Good (1998)
- Ralph Landau (1997)