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Presidential Rank Award--Top Federal Honor-- Given to USGS Scientist Martin Goldhaber
Released: 12/18/2008 3:47:21 PM

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U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
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Heidi  Koontz 1-click interview
Phone: 303-202-4763

Dr. Martin Goldhaber

Dr. Martin Goldhaber, a U.S. Geological Survey senior scientist, was recently awarded a prestigious 2008 Presidential Rank Award. During his 33-year career, Dr. Goldhaber has played a pivotal role as a national and international scientific leader. His research has yielded numerous high impact contributions to the field of geochemistry.

Recipients of this prestigious award are strong leaders, professionals and scientists who achieve results and consistently demonstrate strength, integrity, industry and a relentless commitment to excellence in public service. They are nominated by their agency heads, evaluated by boards comprised of private citizens and approved by the President.

"What is particularly impressive about Marty's career is that his excellence as a scientist is paralleled by extraordinary organizational leadership," said USGS Director Mark Myers. "In helping to develop a vital, comprehensive science strategy to guide USGS planning for the next 10 years, Marty's inspiring leadership has been essential and invaluable."

Throughout his career, Dr. Goldhaber has shown an exceptional ability to develop innovative approaches to solving impressively complex problems in diverse fields of the earth sciences. His early work on sulfur dynamics fundamentally altered the course of international research on the mechanisms of microbial and inorganic sulfur transformations in sediments. His seminal papers in this area provided a comprehensive understanding of these 'diagenetic' processes. Such interactions dominate the long-term global sulfur cycle, are critical to understanding the formation of mineral deposits, and aid in the ability of soils and rocks to recover from and mitigate contamination.

In response to the energy crisis of the mid-1970s, Goldhaber applied his geochemical knowledge to sedimentary mineral deposits in the Western United States and rapidly gained international recognition as one of the world's foremost authorities on the origin of sediment-hosted uranium ores, which represent approximately 90 percent of U.S. uranium reserves. He has lectured nationally and internationally on this topic, influencing research and exploration worldwide on this most important of uranium deposit types.

Dr. Goldhaber has been a leader in characterizing environmental impacts from coal and mineral mining. He is currently co-chief of a USGS project to map the baseline geochemistry in soil of the entire continental United States and Alaska. In collaboration with the Canadian and Mexican Geological Surveys, this project will encompass all of North America. Because the quality of our soil is of vital importance to our nation's well-being, this study will help inform the complex choices we make in using and managing this vital resource.

Most recent and most significant of Dr. Goldhaber's contributions to the USGS is his guidance as co-chair and scientific leader of the USGS Science Strategy Team. The goal of this team was to develop a comprehensive vision based on clearly stated science goals and priorities that would unite all Bureau capabilities toward challenges for the future. The strategy has subsequently become the basis for long range decision making in the USGS. A summary version published in Science Magazine received international exposure and elicited broad praise from outside scientists and managers and from USGS colleagues.

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