Distinguished Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
Alexandra Navrotsky’s research interests lie at the intersection of solid state chemistry, geochemistry, and materials science. The fundamental question that gives unity to a diverse set of studies (over two hundred papers) on materials ranging from oxide superconductors to silicates deep in the Earth’s mantle is “why does a given structure form for a specific composition, pressure and temperature?” The “why” involves relating thermodynamic properties, structural parameters, and chemical bonding in a systematic fashion. At Arizona State University in the 1970’s and 80’s, at Princeton from 1985 to 1997, and at UC Davis since 1997, Navrotsky has built a unique high temperature calorimetry facility, designed and improved on the instrumentation, and developed and applied methods for measuring the energetics of crystalline oxides, of glasses, amorphous, and nanophase and porous materials, of hydrous phases and carbonates, and, more recently, of nitrides and oxynitrides. The thermochemical data obtained are essential to understanding materials compatibility and reactivity in both technological and geological application, but, more fundamentally, the energetics offer insight into chemical bonding, order-disorder reactions, and phase transitions.
She has received numerous awards, including the W. David Kingery Award, American Ceramic Society (2016), the V.M. Goldschmidt Award, Geochemical Society (2016), the Outstanding Engineering Senior Career Research Award from UC Davis (2007), the Harry H. Hess Medal, American Geophysical Union (2006), and the Rossini Award, International Association of Chemical Thermodynamics (2006), among others. She is a Member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union.
She joined the CCST Board in 2018.