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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Ohio State Soil Scientist Receives Prestigious Award

July 14, 2006

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A world-renowned Ohio State University soil scientist has received a prestigious World Congress of Soil Science award, an honor bestowed upon recipients once every four years in conjunction with the World Congress of Soil Science conference.


Rattan Lal, director of Ohio State's Carbon Management and Sequestration Center and a professor with the School of Environment and Natural Resources, is the recipient of the 2006 Liebig Applied Soil Science Award. Named in memory of German scientist Justus von Liebig -- known as the “father of the fertilizer industry” -- the award recognizes outstanding contributions in applied soil science research, resulting in new discoveries, techniques, inventions or materials.

Lal has spent 18 years of his service with Ohio State's Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) studying carbon sequestration -- the technique of storing carbon in the soil -- and its influence on soils throughout the world. Other areas of research include soil processes and atmospheric greenhouse effects, sustainable management of soil and water resources, restoration and rehabilitation of degraded soils, agro-forestry, tropical agriculture and agricultural development in the Third World.

“I have been privileged to know many world-class scientists during my career and Rattan Lal ranks with the best. Certainly, this award is well deserved,” said Steve Slack, director of OARDC.

Added Jerry Bigham, chair of Ohio State's School of Environment and Natural Resources, "The Liebig Award is proof, yet again, that Dr. Lal is internationally recognized and appreciated for his research contributions to soil and environmental science. He has an incredible work ethic and strong desire to make a difference through his research and leadership activities. There is no greater professional honor than to be recognized for your technical achievements by a committee of respected peers."

Lal received the Liebig Applied Soil Science Award during the 18th World Congress of Soil Science, held in Philadelphia, Pa. July 9-15. The conference, organized by the International Union of Soil Science and the Soil Science Society of America, is an opportunity for more than 2,500 soil scientists from 70 countries to meet to advance the soil science profession through research abstracts, symposia, working sessions and events. The last time the World Congress of Soil Science was held in the United States was in 1960.

In 2005, Lal was the recipient of the Norman Borlaug Award, another international honor for his contribution to the sustainable management of soil and natural resources, specifically as it relates. to carbon sequestration and global food security. He has received over 14 other distinguished awards and has authored, reviewed and edited over 1,000 publications and journal articles throughout his career.

Other appointments Lal currently holds include director of the OARDC South Asia Initiatives, co-editor-in-chief of the journal Soil and Tillage Research, and member of the Environmental Division of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. He is also a Fellow of the following organizations: American Society of Agronomy, Soil Science Society of America, Third World Academy of Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Soil and Water Conservation Society and the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences in India.

Candace Pollock
Rattan Lal