Another new mineral has been named for a UC Davis professor. Navrotskyite, a uranium-bearing mineral found underground in Utah’s Blue Lizard mine, was named for Distinguished Professor Alexandra Navrotsky. Navrotskyite resembles fiber-optic bundles, with tight clusters of needle-shaped crystals.
A physical chemist, geochemist and materials scientist, Navrotsky is director of the Nanomaterials in the Environment, Agriculture and Technology (NEAT) organized research unit and the Peter A. Rock Thermochemistry Laboratory at UC Davis.
Throughout her career, Navrotsky has developed new approaches and instruments for calorimetry — measuring the heat associated with chemical reactions. Her current research focuses on the structure and the stability of both natural and synthetic nanomaterials along with their dependence on temperature and pressure.
Navrotsky’s previous honors include the V.M. Goldschmidt Award from the Geochemical Society, the Ross Coffin Purdy Award from the American Ceramic Society, the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Earth Science, the Urey Medal of the European Association of Geochemistry, the Harry H. Hess Medal of the American Geophysical Union, and the Roebling Medal of the Mineralogical Society of America. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.
— Becky Oskin, content strategist in the College of Letters and Science