Lake scientist earns prestigous award
Veteran environmental researcher Charles R. Goldman, a University of California, Davis, professor whose work brought to light the need to stem Lake Tahoe’s continued degradation, will receive the 1998 Albert Einstein World Award of Science.
The international award, given in the past to such acclaimed scientists as Nobel Prize-winning chemist Sherwood Rowland, recognizes those who have accomplished scientific and technological achievements that have advanced scientific understanding and benefited humanity.
The prize carries a medal, diploma and $10,000, and is given by the Mexico City-based World Cultural Council. The council formed in 1982, and awarded its first Einstein prize in 1984.
In alerting Goldman to this honor, Dr. Esteban Meszaros Wild, secretary general of the council, said, “This recognition is for your valuable and pioneering contributions in the field of environmental sciences.
“The prize is offered for your productive trajectory for more than 39 years of research on Lake Tahoe and the environmental research program that you have created and sustained in California and throughout the world that has brought true benefit to mankind.”
Goldman, a limnology professor and director of the UC Davis Tahoe Research Group, is currently out of the country serving on an environmental policymakers exchange panel traveling to Siberia’s Lake Baikal, along with California Secretary for Resources Douglas Wheeler, Charles Soderquist, interim UC associate vice president for agriculture and natural resources and former UC regent, and several others. Earlier this month, Goldman presented a keynote address to the Congress of the International Society of Limnology in Dublin, Ireland.
Upon learning of the award, Goldman said it is “particularly important to me as I draw near to the end of my career as a lake-focused environmental scientist, since it more than justifies my efforts as well as those of my students and colleagues to provide the necessary science to protect Lake Tahoe for this and future generations.
“The Lake Tahoe experience has provided a contemporary example of how long-term, carefully done research can be decisive in directing policy towards protecting our fragile ecosystems everywhere.”
News of Goldman’s award elated UC Davis officials.
“What wonderful news! Chancellor Vanderhoef and I are delighted for Professor Goldman. We and all of his UC Davis colleagues share his well-deserved pride in receiving this prestigious award,” said UC Davis Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Robert D. Grey.
“This award recognizes the global significance of Dr. Goldman’s research in limnology and illustrates the impact of UC Davis research in addressing environmental issues, ” said Barbara Schneeman, dean of UC Davis’ College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
“As recognized by the White House summit last year, Lake Tahoe is a national treasure. We owe a great deal to Dr. Goldman’s pioneering research that has helped us understand how to maintain the quality of this resource.”
The Einstein award, which Goldman will receive in a November ceremony at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, caps a year of extraordinary, worldwide attention to Lake Tahoe’s environmental stresses, commencing with last year’s Presidential Forum on the Environment. Following that forum, President Clinton pledged federal money to research and preserve the Tahoe basin.
UC Davis developed plans earlier this year to build a new Lake Tahoe Center for Environmental Research to house researchers and to welcome scientists from around the world focusing on ecosystem management. Under Goldman’s direction, the new center will bring scientists and policymakers together to strive for solutions to Lake Tahoe’s troubles and to create models of freshwater lake preservation applicable globally.
The award, Goldman says, “comes at just the right time to focus renewed attention on the urgency of providing present and future scientists with modern facilities to further these efforts by building the Lake Tahoe Environmental Research Center.”
Goldman joined UC Davis’ College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in 1958, developing the first courses in limnology (the study of fresh waters) and founding the campus’s Institute of Ecology. In addition to his groundbreaking studies at Lake Tahoe, Goldman’s research accomplishments include helping to develop a highly efficient, low-energy wetlands system that strips nutrients from treated wastewater and urban runoff, and several studies of tropical reservoirs and their associated environmental problems.
Goldman served as a founder of an international center for ecological research at Lake Baikal, and organized a major scientific exchange and expedition to that region with the support of the National Geographic Society.
Goldman’s research is widely recognized as a major force in slowing further deterioration of Lake Tahoe, and influencing lake-studies programs at other lakes including Lake Mead in Nevada, Lake George in New York and Lake Geneva in Switzerland, among others.
Among Goldman’s honors during his career are a National Science Foundation Senior Postdoctoral Fellowship for limnological research, Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Antarctic Service Medal from Congress. The “Goldman Glacier” in Antarctica was named for him.
In 1993, Goldman received the UC Davis Distinguished Public Service Award. In announcing that award, campus officials noted that Goldman has “successfully translated scientific research into public policy and social action. In the 1960s, when his research documented that the discharge of sewage into Lake Tahoe was contributing to the decline in the lake’s clarity, Goldman persuaded officials to begin exporting all sewage and solid waste from the Tahoe basin. He also was instrumental in showing the need for and promoting development of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency in 1970 to regulate development and land use.”
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