Director of Geology receives Lifetime Achievement Award

University of Nevada, Reno Director of Geology recognized for his contributions in earthquake risk reduction

5/22/2012 - By: Jaclyn McBride
Jonathan and Beth Price Jonathan Price and wife Beth Price at Coyote Canyon in the Nightingale Mountains 40 miles north of Fernley and East of Pyramid Lake on the 2010 Earth Science Week public field trip. Photo by Mike Wolterbeek, University of Nevada, Reno.

Jonathan Price, Director of the University of Nevada, Reno's Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology and Nevada State Geologist, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Western States Seismic Policy Council in recognition of his public policy advocacy and his indefatigable support of seismic safety in Nevada and across the nation at an awards ceremony last month in Memphis, Tennessee.

"When I was a little kid, about five years old, I knew I wanted to be a geologist. I grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania and I remember collecting minerals, fossils, and rocks there," said Price.

After high school, Price studied Geology and German at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.

"At that time I knew I needed to get an advanced degree," Price said.

He spent a year studying mineralogy and geology at the University of Heidelberg then went to Berkeley to receive his M.A. and Ph.D. in Geology, completing his dissertation on the copper deposit at Yerington, Nevada. After graduating, he went on to work for the United States Steel Corporation, first in Utah and then in Texas.  

In 1981 he started working for the University of Texas at Austin, Bureau of Economic Geology.

"We used to sit around in the Texas Bureau's great new facilities at lunch and discuss if we could have the most amazing job anywhere, where it would be," said Price. "My choice was to be the Nevada State Geologist, because geology is really exciting here, with Nevada's leadership among the states in gold and other mineral production and with an expanding population that needs geological information for decisions on avoiding geological hazards."

The award was created to recognize outstanding leaders in earthquake risk reduction. Individuals whom receive this award must have an extraordinary commitment, level of service, and contribution to the application of earthquake risk reduction.

James Faulds, a research professor and state geologist with the University, said that the contributions Price has made to the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology are immense.

"In his 24 years, he has transformed the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology into one of the most productive and widely known state geological surveys in the country," said Faulds.

Throughout his time with the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, Price has helped to increase funding and increase peer-reviewed articles, maps, and reports. He introduced routine outside peer review, and also helped draft the National Geologic Mapping Act, which provides funding to all state geological surveys for geologic mapping. He secured funding to establish the Great Basin Science Sample and Records Library, as well as obtained outside funding for geodetic research that led to the development of the Nevada Geodetic Laboratory.

Despite all these contributions- and these are just a sampling of his accomplishments- the biggest contribution Price said he's made is bringing knowledge to the public.

"Conveying scientific research and knowledge to the public and putting it to use for the public would have to be, in my mind, my greatest contribution," Price said.

Price, who is retiring at the end of June, said that his future plans will allow him to continue pursuing his passion.

"I'll be consulting for the minerals industry. I'm too active to not keep doing geology," said Price. "As an emeritus faculty I'll be doing some volunteer work as well. I expect to help put on geology field trips for the public in the Reno-Carson City area during Earth Science Week in October."

For more information, see the Western States Seismic Policy Council Awards.


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