March 12, 2021
Staff Accomplishment

Govind, Andersen Collaborate with SSRL to Co-Host Workshop

Virtual workshop focuses on spectroscopy and modeling approaches

Image of Govind and Andersen

PNNL scientists Amity Andersen (left) and Niri Govind co-hosted a virtual workshop on spectroscopy and modeling approaches.

(Composite image by Shannon Colson | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

PNNL physicist Niri Govind and Amity Andersen, a computational scientist from EMSL, the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, co-organized a half-day virtual workshop with Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL). The goal of the joint workshop was to showcase how molecular modeling, when combined with X-ray spectroscopy, can shed light on molecular mechanisms relevant to environmental processes, and to gauge interest in these state-of-the-art techniques in the environmental science community.

The workshop, titled “Spectroscopy and Modeling for Molecular Insight into Environmental Processes,” brought together more than 100 environmental scientists. Through multiple short talks, speakers at the workshop explained how to use theory and modeling—such as density functional theory and molecular dynamics—in the interpretation of extended X-ray absorption fine structure and X-ray absorption spectroscopy data. This data is an essential tool for scientists investigating the disposition of contaminants and nutrients in soils, sediments, surface waters, and marine settings because it provides information at the molecular level.

The workshop, held January 26, was developed in partnership with Nancy Hess from EMSL and three SSRL scientists, Sharon Bone (Chair), Ritimukta Sarangi, and Jocelyn Richardson.

Both EMSL and SSRL are scientific user facilities, and EMSL is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, Biological and Environmental Research program. The workshop was part of an outreach initiative to help Biological and Environmental Research program-funded researchers at EMSL learn more about SSRL’s X-ray imaging and spectroscopy beamlines as complimentary capabilities for addressing environmental science questions.

Further discussions are ongoing to develop a roadmap to strengthen the partnership between EMSL and SSRL. For more information, please contact Niri Govind ( or Amity Andersen (

To learn more about the workshop, visit: