Pacific Northwest National Lab Scientist to Speak at UA

On Nov. 13, the chemistry department will welcome Dr. Sebastien Kerisit as he presents his seminar entitled “Molecular Mechanisms of Reactivity at Mineral-Water Interfaces.”

Kerisit is a scientist from Pacific Northwest National Lab working in the Department of Energy. His research focuses on finding ways to store carbon dioxide emissions in the subsurface of the Earth, a process that is called carbon sequestration.

“It’s a big deal in terms of trying to keep coal-burning plants running; we need to store the carbon dioxide generated from them, and one possibility is storing it in the subsurface,” said David Dixon, Ramsey Chair in the Department of Chemistry.

Kerisit’s talk will cover what could happen if carbon dioxide is stored in the subsurface, especially in regards to minerals. He will also cover how modeling is being used to help predict the impact on the environment. He is using high-end computers to look at how minerals can change when carbon dioxide is placed below the subsurface. This is to ensure that if carbon dioxide is there, groundwater won’t be contaminated, and the carbon dioxide will actually stay and not resurface.

“If we don’t fix the carbon dioxide problem, [people’s] children, their grandchildren are not going to want to live on this Earth,” Dixon said. “This is a way to deal with Global Warming.”

This seminar is free and open to the public. Dixon said since this talk encompasses geochemistry, it’s a way to broaden students’ knowledge of the science-realm. By having Kerisit speak at UA, Dixon said, students will see another job possibility in applied sciences. This is a real-world application of science to find a solution to provide energy, while reducing the environmental impact.

“[Students] will get information about the work being done in a national laboratory, and secondly, they’ll see how basic science is being used to solve a practical problem,” Dixon said. “This is to give them a different perspective on the ways chemistry can be used to solve a world problem.”

This seminar will be held on Nov. 13 from 12:45-1:45 p.m in 1093 Shelby Hall. For more information about this seminar or other events in the Chemistry Department, please visit