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Eminent ASU scientist Alex Navrotsky to be honored at conferences throughout the year

Colleagues celebrate distinguished career for 80th birthday


Alex Navrotsky holding up a card.

Alex Navrotsky holding up a birthday card that reads: "80 is only 27 in Celsius." Photo by Mary Zhu/School of Molecular Sciences

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June 28, 2023

Alex Navrotsky, director of the Navrotsky Eyring Center for Materials of the Universe, will be honored at conferences in three countries this year in recognition of her accomplishments and her 80th birthday.

This week, Navrotsky is being recognized at the International Conference on Computer Coupling of Phase Diagrams and Thermochemistry in Boston. She will also be celebrated in July at the Goldschmidt Conference in France, an international conference on geochemistry and related subjects organized by the European Association of Geochemistry and the Geochemical Society.

In late November, a major symposium will be held to commemorate Navrotsky’s lifetime achievements; the Navrotsky International Symposium on Geochemistry will take place at the Sustainability through Science and Technology conference in Panama.

Last week, Navrotsky, an ASU Regents Professor in the School of Molecular Sciences and the School for Engineering and Matter, Transport and Energy, and an affiliated faculty member of the School of Earth and Space Exploration, celebrated her 80th birthday and a productive six-decade career with friends and colleagues at ASU.

“Alex is an extraordinary scientist. She has brought materials science to the forefront here at ASU. She is extraordinarily generous and absolutely a one-of-a-kind professor," said Kenro Kusumi, dean of natural sciences.

School of Molecular Sciences Director Tijana Rajh offered her congratulations: “I have known Alex’s work throughout my research career, and I’ve gotten to know her personally since I joined ASU. I have never seen a scientist with so much passion, creativity and perseverance. Her engagement never stops, even after achieved successes. She is currently a driving force for the inception of several cross-disciplinary programs at ASU and around the U.S., making her one of our top most productive faculty. Happy birthday Alex, you inspire all of us to be our best selves.”

“Professor Navrotsky is an exceptional PhD advisor and team leader who has made an impact not only on the scientific community, but also on the life of her students and anyone who has had the chance to work with her," doctoral student Laura Bonatti said. "She seizes every opportunity to further science and mentor those around her, even when one may not be aware of it at first. She has a teaching gift that exceeds the ordinary, quickly adapting her approach to suit the needs of her students by using their strengths and learning styles. Happy 80th birthday!”

Navrotsky, who enjoys the arts, draws comparisons with the sciences as she thinks about the future.

“I enjoy music and art, both classical and modern. It’s easy to feel comfortable with the older because it’s familiar. However, you need to step outside of your comfort zone, whether in art, music or science, to appreciate or be at the forefront rather than being content with the past. I am inspired when I understand something I didn’t understand before, so I get up in the morning with the same enthusiasm as my dogs in hope of seeing a multicolored squirrel.”

When asked if she plans on retiring, Navrotsky said: “I am fortunate that there is a lot of creativity in my work, and there is a difference between creativity and a job; creativity has no stop date. No one would have said to Picasso that he should stop painting at some age. It was good for me to come back home to ASU and build MotU, to give back and to look forward: ‘What can I contribute now?’” 

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