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Alexandra Navrotsky

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Alexandra Navrotsky
Alexandra Navrotsky with Lee Penn performing the methane mamba chemical demonstration
Born (1943-06-20) June 20, 1943 (age 77)
EducationBronx High School of Science
Alma materUniversity of Chicago
AwardsMember of the National Academy of Sciences
Scientific career
InfluencedRebecca Lange

Alexandra Navrotsky (born 20 June 1943 in New York City) is a physical chemist in the field of nanogeoscience.[1] She is an elected member of the United States National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the American Philosophical Society (APS).[2] She was a board member of the Earth Sciences and Resources division of the NAS from 1995 until 2000.[3]

In 2005, she was awarded the Urey Medal,[4] by the European Association of Geochemistry. In 2006, she was awarded the Harry H. Hess Medal, by the American Geophysical Union.[5] She is currently the director of NEAT ORU (Nanomaterials in Environment, Agriculture, and Technology Organized Research Unit), a primary program in nanogeoscience. She is Distinguished Professor at University of California, Davis.[6]

Early life and education

She graduated from Bronx High School of Science in New York. She received B.S. (1963), M.S. (1964), and Ph.D. (1967) in physical chemistry from University of Chicago, where she studied with Professor Ole J. Kleppa.

Career and research

In 1967, she went to Germany for postdoctoral work. She came back to the U.S. in 1968 and continued her postdoctoral work at Pennsylvania State University. Then she joined the Chemistry faculty at Arizona State University, for approximately five consecutive years. Later on, she moved to the Department of Geological and Geophysical Sciences at Princeton University in 1985. She became the chair of that department from 1988 to 1991. In 1997, she moved to University of California at Davis and became an Interdisciplinary Professor of Ceramic, Earth, and Environmental Materials Chemistry. In 2001, she was chosen as the Edward Roessler Chair in Mathematical and Physical Sciences. As of 2013, she was appointed interim dean of Mathematical and Physical Sciences in the College of Letters and Sciences, at University of California at Davis. Her specializations include: Solid-state chemistry, Ceramics, Physics and Chemistry of Minerals, Geochemistry.


Since 1997, she has built a unique high temperature calorimetry facility. She has also designed and enhanced the instrumentation. Navrotsky introduced and applied the method for measuring the energetics of crystalline oxides of glasses, amorphous, nanophase material, porous materials of hydrous phases and carbonates also more recently nitrides and oxynitrides. Obtaining the thermo chemical data is used to understand the compatibility and reactivity of materials in technological and geological application. The energetics provides insight into chemical bonding, order-disorder reactions, and phase transitions. Navrotsky's calorimetry has also been used in providing thermo chemical data for a variety of perovskite-related phases which has major consequences for convection and evolution on a planetary scale. One of Navrotsky's works has shown that many zeolitic and mesoporous phases have energies only slightly higher than those of their stable dense polymorphs. The energy is associated with the presence or absence of strained bond angles not with the density.


Her research is mainly focused on the structure and the stability of both natural and synthetic nanomaterials along with their dependence of temperature and pressure. She is also looking into the application of nanomaterials in geochemical pollutant transport in the air as it relates to the global climate change.

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

— Alexandra Navrotsky, 2010, [7]

Awards and honors

  • Alfred P. Sloan Fellow (1973)
  • Mineralogical Society of America Award and Fellow (1981)
  • American Geophysical Union Fellow (1988)
  • Member, National Academy of Sciences (1993)
  • President, Mineralogical Society of America (1992–1993)
  • Honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Science and Technology at Uppsala University, Sweden (1995)
  • Ross Coffin Purdy Award, American Ceramic Society Fellow (1995)[8]
  • Geochemical Society Fellow (1997)
  • Alexander M. Cruickshank Award, Gordon Research Conference (2000)
  • Hugh Huffman Memorial Award, The Calorimetry Conference (2000)
  • Ceramic Educational Council Outstanding Educator Award (2000)
  • American Ceramic Society Fellow (2001)
  • American Ceramic Society, Best Paper Award of the Nuclear and Environmental Technology Division (2001)
  • Benjamin Franklin Medal in Earth Science (2002)
  • Highly Cited Researchers Award, ISI Thomson Scientific (2002)
  • Fellow, The Mineralogical Society (Great Britain) (2004)
  • Urey Medal, European Association of Geochemistry (EAG) (2005)
  • Spriggs Phase Equilibria Award, American Ceramic Society (ACerS)(2005)
  • Rossini Award, International Association of Chemical Thermodynamics (IACT)(2006)
  • Harry H. Hess Medal, American Geophysical Union (AGU)(2006)
  • Roebling Medal, Mineralogical Society of America (2009)[9][10]


  • Alexander A. Demkov; Alexandra Navrotsky (2005). Materials fundamentals of gate dielectrics. Springer. ISBN 978-1-4020-3077-2.


  1. ^ Gates, Alexander E. (2003). "Navrotsky, Alexandra (1943–)". A to Z of earth scientists. New York: Facts on File. ISBN 9781438109190.
  2. ^ "APS Member History". Retrieved 2021-04-02.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-11-26. Retrieved 2010-02-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ ""Urey Medal to Navrotsky ", Society News: European Association of Geochemistry" (PDF). Retrieved 9 April 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-01. Retrieved 2010-02-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-10-08. Retrieved 2010-02-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Nanoparticle scientist speaks on new discoveries". Science Daily. Knoxville, Tennessee. June 16, 2010. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  8. ^ "Honorary doctorates -" (in Swedish). Uppsala University. Retrieved 29 September 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ Ross, Nancy L. (2010). "Presentation of the 2009 Roebling Medal of the Mineralogical Society of America to Alexandra Navrotsky" (PDF). American Mineralogist. 95 (4): 659–660. Bibcode:2010AmMin..95..659R. doi:10.2138/am.2010.560. Retrieved 29 September 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ Navrotsky, Alexandra (2010). "Acceptance of the Roebling Medal for 2009 of the Mineralogical Society of America" (PDF). American Mineralogist. 96 (4): 661. doi:10.2138/am.2010.561. Retrieved 29 September 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
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Alexandra Navrotsky
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