Michael F. Hochella Jr., of Blacksburg, a professor of geosciences, received a Virginia Tech 2005 Alumni Award for Research Excellence.

The Alumni Association established the Alumni Award for Research Excellence to recognize the contributions of members of the university faculty who have made outstanding contributions in research. Alumni, students, faculty, and staff members make nominations for the award. The selection committee is composed of a chair appointed by the vice president for research, as well as faculty who are previous recipients of the award.

Hochella came to Virginia Tech in 1992 after holding positions at Stanford University and Corning Inc. His studies include the way toxins cause lung cancer or other lung diseases, how toxins pollute water, and how toxic substances move around the world. An internationally recognized environmental geochemist and pioneer in the field of nanogeoscience, Hochella studies the interactions of such things as the surfaces of Earth materials with living things. He discovered that differences exist in the way Earth's materials behave at the atomic scale (the subject of nanogeoscience). His research has been supported by such sources as Chevron, the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and Texaco.

Hochella has received many honors, including the Virginia Scientist of the Year, The Department of Energy's Most Outstanding Research Award for Geosciences, and the Humboldt and Fulbright Scholar awards. He is former president of the Geochemical Society, the largest and oldest society for geochemists in the world. Also, he is a member of the Geochemical Society, the Mineralogical Society of America, the American Geophysical Union, the American Chemical Society's Geochemistry Division, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has served these societies, various Federal agencies, and Virginia Tech in many capacities and has edited two books.

Hochella received a B.S. and M.S. in geological sciences from Virginia Tech and the Ph.D. from Stanford University's School of Earth Sciences.

The College of Science at Virginia Tech gives students a comprehensive foundation in the scientific method. Outstanding faculty members teach courses and conduct research in biology, chemistry, economics, geosciences, mathematics, physics, psychology, and statistics. The college is dedicated to fostering a research intensive environment and offers programs in nano-scale and biological sciences, information theory and science, and supports research centers--in areas such as biomedical and public health sciences, and critical technology and applied science--that encompass other colleges at the university. The College of Science also houses programs in pre-medicine and scientific law.

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech has grown to become among the largest universities in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Today, Virginia Tech's eight colleges are dedicated to putting knowledge to work through teaching, research, and outreach activities and to fulfilling its vision to be among the top research universities in the nation. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 180 academic degree programs.


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