On November 11, 2009, Earth Sciences Division’s own Benjamin Gilbert was chosen by the Mineralogical Society of America as 2010’s Young Investigator Award winner. This award— the highest honor for a young career scientist working in mineralogy or related fields—marks the first time ever that a full-time (non-faculty) Earth Sciences Division scientist has received a "Young Scientist" award from one of the major earth science societies. Gilbert will be presented the award at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America meeting in Denver, Colorado, October 31–November 3, 2010. In response to the announcement, Gilbert said, “It was a fantastic surprise to receive this award, whose list of previous recipients contains several of the scientists I most respect in geochemistry and mineralogy. I regard the reward as a recognition of the superb experimental facilities and scientific collaborations that have been available to me since I was encouraged by Jill Banfield to come to Berkeley and start working in the newly developing area of nanogeoscience.” Gilbert has made important contributions to the rapidly evolving field of nanogeoscience—the study of the properties and geochemical interactions of natural nanoscale minerals. Much of his research involves the development and application of synchrotron x-ray experiments and analysis methods for the study of mineral nanoparticles. Research accomplishments include: the discovery of stable cluster formation by iron oxyhydroxide nanoparticles; observation of structural transformations in ZnS nanoparticles associated with water binding; the identification of nanoscale silicate inclusions in zircons; and x-ray spectroscopic studies of the electronic structure of manganese oxides. More recently, his research has begun to apply ultrafast x-ray methods to study electron transfer to ferric iron oxide nanoparticles with sub-nanosecond temporal resolution. These studies are reported in more than 50 peer-reviewed publications that include collaborations with scientists from many disciplines. Gilbert obtained a B.A. in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University in 1994 and a Ph.D. from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in 2000. His graduate research was based upon synchrotron x-ray spectromicroscopy studies at the Synchrotron Radiation Center of the University of Wisconsin – Madison, for which he received the SRC Aladdin Lamp Award. He performed post-doctoral research at University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of California at Berkeley. In 2004, he joined the Earth Sciences Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and founded (with colleagues Jill Banfield and Glenn Waychunas) the Berkeley Nanogeoscience Center. In April 2007, he was promoted to a career scientist position. Congratulations, Ben, from everyone in the Earth Sciences Division!
For more information about the award, including a list of past recipients (such as Jill Banfield and Earth Sciences Division Director Don DePaolo!), please visit the award page of the Mineralogical Society of America.