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Julianne Martin
Office for Women's Affairs

Last modified: Monday, October 17, 2011

UC Davis professor to present lecture on thermodynamics, geochemistry and materials science career

Oct. 17, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Professor Alexandra Navrotsky of the University of California-Davis will present a lecture titled "A Career in Thermodynamics, Geochemistry and Materials Science," this week at Indiana University Bloomington. It will be Wednesday (Oct. 19) from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Chemistry C122.

Alexandra Navrotsky

The lecture is presented by the IU Office for Women's Affairs.

"Nanoparticles are everywhere," Navrotsky said. "You eat them, drink them, breathe them, pay to have them -- and pay even more to get rid of them."

An internationally recognized expert on the thermodynamic behavior of complex materials and its relation to the microscopic structure, Navrotsky's research impacts areas as diverse as materials and environmental science and geochemistry and geophysics, as well as addressing fundamental questions in energy research including fuel cells and nuclear energy. The lecture will be directed to a general audience and is free and open to the public.

Navrotsky said her graduate degree in physical chemistry provided a launch pad for applications of thermodynamics and problems ranging from deep Earth geophysics to environmental geochemistry to nanomaterials to solid oxide fuel cells to nuclear energy.

By developing and applying unique calorimetric techniques, she has addressed a fundamental question of solid state chemistry, namely: "Why does a certain structure form for a given assemblage of atoms at a given temperature and pressure?" Answering this question gives insight into fundamentals of chemical bonding and applications to technology and earth science, she said.

Navrotsky will illustrate this approach through several examples of work completed both many years ago and over the past year. She will also comment on the "joys and challenges of a ringside seat to history" in an increasingly global scientific and personal environment, she said.