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Applied Geology and Geochemistry

Michael Hochella

Michael Hochella

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
PO Box 999
Richland, WA 99352


Michael F. Hochella, Jr. is an Earth scientist concentrating in the area of nano-bio-geo-environmental science on local, regional, and global levels. He is a Laboratory Fellow at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech. He received his B.S. and M.S. from Virginia Tech in 1975 and 1977, respectively, and his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1981. He has been a professor, first at Stanford, and then at Virginia Tech, for a total of 28 years. He began a joint position with Virginia Tech and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in January, 2016. He has won many awards and honors (see below). He is a former President of both the Geochemical Society and the Mineralogical Society of America, and has served on high-level advisory committees at both NSF and DOE. He is the founder of the Virginia Tech Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology, and the Virginia Tech National Center for Earth and Environmental Nanotechnology Infrastructure funded by the National Science Foundation.

Research Interests

  • Elucidating the roles that nanoscience/nanotechnology and mineral surface geochemistry/ biogeochemistry play in major aspects of the earth sciences, including especially environmental issues and biogeochemical cycling of the elements from local to global levels.
  • Mineral – microbe interactions from both geochemical and biochemical perspectives, applications to nutrients and toxins in the environment and their mobility.
  • Characterizing aqueous partitioning reactions at oxide and silicate surfaces; understanding interactions between mineral surfaces and species in solution with applications to aqueous system transport.

Education and Credentials

  • 8/77 to 8/81 - PhD, Stanford University, School of Earth Sciences.
  • 9/75 to 7/77 - MS, Virginia Tech, Department of Geological Sciences.
  • 9/71 to 6/75 - BS, Virginia Tech, Department of Geological Sciences.

Awards and Recognitions

  • Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award, 2016 (highest honor for faculty in the Commonwealth)
  • Elected Fellow, Royal Society of Chemistry (United Kingdom), 2014
  • Elected Fellow, International Association of GeoChemistry, 2013
  • President, Mineralogical Society of America, 2012
  • George W. Brindley Lecture Award, Clay Minerals Society, 2008
  • Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2007
  • Distinguished Service Medal, The Geochemical Society, 2007
  • Elected Fellow, The Geochemical Society, 2007
  • Elected Fellow, European Association of Geochemistry, 2007
  • University Distinguished Professor, 2007 (life award and position,1% of faculty at VT)
  • Elected Fellow, American Geophysical Union, 2006
  • Virginia Scientist of the Year, 2005
  • Virginia Tech Alumni Award for Research Excellence, 2005
  • DOE Outstanding Research Award for Geosciences, 2003
  • Dana Medal, Mineralogical Society of America, 2002
  • Alexander von Humboldt Award, Germany, 2001
  • President, The Geochemical Society, 2000-2001
  • Elected Fellow, Mineralogical Society of America, 1990
  • Senior Fulbright Scholar Award, 1998
  • Elected Fellow, Geological Society of America, 1988

PNNL Publications


  • Schindler M, and MF Hochella. 2016. "Nanomineralogy as a new dimension in understanding elusive geochemical processes in soils: The case of low-solubility-index elements." Geology 44(7):515-518.  doi:10.1130/G37774.1


Additional Information