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Geochemist Tom Guilderson wins E.O. Lawrence Award for radiocarbon work

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Geochemist Tom Guilderson has been named a winner of the Department of Energy's prestigious Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced today.

Guilderson is being honored for ground-breaking radiocarbon measurements of corals, advancements in understanding the paleo-history of ocean currents and ocean processes revealing past climate variability, and the explanation of how physical and biogeochemical oceanic processes affect the global carbon cycle.

The award honors mid-career scientists and engineers for exceptional contributions in research and development supporting the Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration and its mission to advance the national, economic and energy security of the United States.

Guilderson is the senior research scientist in the natural carbon research group at the Laboratory's Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry and a lecturer and researcher in the Department of Ocean Sciences and Institute of Marine Sciences at University of California, Santa Cruz.

CAMS Director Graham Bench was part of a committee that nominated Guilderson for the award.

"There are things in particular that set Tom apart from everyone else," Bench said. "He is absolutely dedicated to rigorous scientific research and he is an excellent mentor to up and coming scientists."

Guilderson received his bachelor's degree in marine science (cum laude and with honors) from the University of South Carolina in 1987, after which he spent two years working in the Department of Geological Sciences' Stable Isotope Laboratory. He spent the next few years (when he wasn't out to sea on experimental missions) at Columbia University and Lamont Doherty Earth (Geological) Observatory obtaining his masters' degrees and PhD. at Princeton and Harvard universities. He rounded out his postdoctoral at CAMS prior to becoming a full-time CAMS researcher.

Guilderson's research has two primary but inter-related themes, climate variability and the carbon cycle -- past, present, and future. In a broad sense, his climate research has centered around documenting and understanding natural climate variability with a focus on tropical-extra-tropical connections in the oceanic and terrestrial realm.

John Knezovich, former CAMS director and current director of University Relations and Science Education, hired Guilderson as a postdoc and a full-time researcher and said he is more than deserving of the award.

"Tom truly embodies the passion for science that we look for and in a highly collaborative way," Knezovich said. "He's a leader without being selfish about sharing of information or data."

Guilderson's background in geology and ocean science is what started the natural carbon research group at CAMS.

"He brought that expertise with him," Knezovich said. "We saw the potential for a niche for CAMS in this area. If we were going to make it in this area, we knew Tom was the one to take us there."

Guilderson is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union and Sigma Xi.

The E.O. Lawrence Award named for the same physicist who co-founded Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory comes with a citation signed by the Secretary of Energy, a gold medal bearing the likeness of Ernest Orlando Lawrence, and $50,000. Guilderson will receive the official award at a ceremony later this year.

Guilderson is the 28th current or former LLNL employee to receive an E.O. Lawrence Award.


Contact: Anne Stark
DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

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