In recognition of his outstanding contributions and the integrity of his scientific and scholarly activities, Antonio Simonetti has been granted the Citizen’s Award for Exceptional Service from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). He is an associate professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences at the University of Notre Dame.
The Citizen’s Award is an annual honor that recognizes contributions by a private individual [not an employee of the USGS], an organizational partner, or a volunteer who has contributed significantly to the mission of the USGS.
Simonetti has distinguished himself for the many ways in which he has applied his expertise in isotope geochemistry, geochronology, geochemistry and igneous petrology to nuclear forensics — studying when and how rocks formed as well as developing new methods to determine the place of origin of nuclear materials, whether for energy production or nuclear weapons manufacture. He is also working to characterize the chemical and isotopic nature of the Earth’s upper mantle and in long-range tracing of atmospheric pollution.
His work has been supported by organizations such as the Department of Homeland Security, the National Nuclear Security Agency, the National Science Foundation, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. And he is a member of the American Chemical Society, American Geophysical Union, and Geological Society of America, as well as the Mineralogical Association of Canada and the Mineralogical Society of America.
A faculty member since 2008, Simonetti serves on the Council of the Mineralogical Association of Canada and as an external peer reviewer for the National Science Foundation and Natural Sciences Engineering Research Council. He is also on the editorial board of the journal Minerals and serves as associate editor for Lithos.
Established in 1879, the USGS is the sole science agency for the Department of the Interior. Its initial responsibilities included mapping public lands, examining geological structures, and evaluating mineral resources. Over years its mission has expanded to include the monitoring, assessment, and understanding of the science involving groundwater, ecosystems, environmental health, natural hazards, as well as climate and land use to better understand the impact of nature [the Earth and its processes] on lives and livelihoods, as well as to enhance the nation’s preparedness, response, and resilience in case of natural disasters.