Alexandra Navrotsky

Alex Navrotsky

Position Title
Distinguished Professor Emeritus


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.

Education, Awards and Professional Highlights

  • W. David Kingery Award, American Ceramic Society (2016)
  • V.M. Goldschmidt Award, Geochemical Society (2016)
  • Alfred R. Cooper Distinguished Lecture, The American Ceramic Society, Materials Science & Technology Conference (2013)
  • William Mong Distinguished Lecture, University of Hong Kong (2013)
  • Cecil and Ida Green Senior Fellowship at the Geophysical Laboratory of the Carnegie Institute of Washington (2012)
  • Featured Manuscript in the Journal of the American Ceramics Society - Thermochemistry of Lanthana- and Yttria-Doped Thoria (2011)
  • American Philosophical Society (2011)
  • International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, Fellow (2009)
  • Best University Paper Award, DOE Geoscience Grantee Meeting (2009)
  • Roebling Medal of Mineralogical Society of America (2009)
  • Outstanding Engineering Senior Career Research Award – University of California, Davis (2007)
  • Sloan Faculty Distinguished Service Award - University of California, Davis (2007)
  • Harry H. Hess Medal, American Geophysical Union (2006)
  • Rossini Award, International Association of Chemical Thermodynamics (2006)
  • Spriggs Phase Equilibria Award, American Ceramic Society (2005)
  • Urey Medal, European Association of Geochemistry (2005)
  • Fellow, The Minerological Society, Great Britain (2004)
  • Highly Cited Researchers Award, ISI Thomson Scientific (2002)
  • Benjamin Franklin Medal in Earth Science (2002)
  • Best Paper Award of the Nuclear and Environmental Technology Division, American Ceramic Society (2001)
  • American Ceramic Society Fellow (2001)
  • Ceramic Educational Council Outstanding Educator Award (2000)
  • Hugh Huffman Memorial Award, The Calorimetry Conference (2000)
  • Alexander M. Cruickshank Award, Gordon Research Conference (2000)
  • Geochemical Society Fellow (1997)
  • Ross Coffin Purdy Award, American Ceramic Society Fellow (1995)
  • Doctor Honoris Causa, University of Uppsala, Sweden (1995)
  • President, Mineralogical Society of America (1992-1993)
  • Member, National Academy of Sciences (1993)
  • American Geophysical Union Fellow (1988)
  • Mineralogical Society of America Award and Fellow (1981)
  • Alfred P. Sloan Fellow (1973)
  • Ph.D. University of Chicago (1967)

Representative Publications