Earth Sciences Division (ESD) Department of Energy (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

Earth Sciences Division Staff: Benjamin Gilbert

Benjamin Gilbert

Benjamin Gilbert

Staff Scientist

Geochemistry Department
 Berkeley Nanogeoscience Center


Phone: 510-495-2748

Fax: 510-486-5686


Biographical Summary

Benjamin Gilbert obtained a B.A. in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University in 1994 and a PhD from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in 2000. His graduate research was based upon synchrotron x-ray spectromicroscopy studies at the Synchrotron Radiation Center of the University of Wisconsin - Madison, for which he received the SRC Aladdin Lamp Award. He performed post-doctoral research at UW - Madison and the University of California at Berkeley.

In 2004, he joined the Earth Sciences Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and founded (with colleagues Jill Banfield and Glenn Waychunas) the Berkeley Nanogeoscience Center. In April 2007, he was promoted to a career scientist position.

Gilbert has made important contributions to the rapidly evolving field of nanogeoscience - the study of the properties and geochemical interactions of natural nanoscale minerals. Much of his research involves the development and application of synchrotron x-ray experiments and analysis methods for the study of mineral nanoparticles. Research accomplishments include: the discovery of stable cluster formation by iron oxyhydroxide nanoparticles; observation of structural transformations in ZnS nanoparticles associated with water binding; the identification of nanoscale silicate inclusions in zircons; and x-ray spectroscopic studies of the electronic structure of manganese oxides. More recently, his research has begun to apply ultrafast x-ray methods to study electron transfer to ferric iron oxide nanoparticles with sub-nanosecond temporal resolution. These studies are reported in more than 50 peer-reviewed publications that include collaborations with scientists from many disciplines.


  • Ph.D. Biophysics, July 2000. Swiss Federal Institute of Lausanne (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne).
  • BA Hons (Cantab) Natural Sciences (Physics) June 1994. Cambridge University.

Professional Experience

  • Geological Scientist (Career appointment) Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Earth Sciences Division. April 2007 -present. Geological Scientist (Term appointment) Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Earth Sciences Division. Oct ‘04 – March ‘07. Postdoctoral research scholar University of California – Berkeley, Department of Earth and Planetary Science. Feb 2002 -
  • Sep 2004. Advisor: Jillian F. Banfield. Postdoctoral research scholar University of Wisconsin at Madison, Department of Physics. Aug. 2000 -Feb 2002. Advisor:
  • Gelsomina “pupa” De Stasio. Graduate student Swiss Federal Institute of Lausanne, Department of Physics. Sep. 96-July 2000. Advisors: Giorgio Margaritondo and Gelsomina “pupa” De Stasio. Scientific consultant. Neotronics, Ltd. (UK) to construct prototype formaldehyde sensor. Sep. 95. Research Assistant Cambridge University, Institute of Biotechnology. Oct. ‘94 – Oct. ‘95. Advisor: Elizabeth. A.H. Hall.


Research Funding and Support

  • Nanoparticle aggregation in natural aqueous systems
  • B. Gilbert (PI) & C. S. Kim (Co-PI) DOE Basic Energy Sciences (Geochemistry) 3Yr $600K
  • Imaging electronic and atomic redistribution during redox reactions at surfaces
  • G. A. Waychunas (PI) B. Gilbert, J. F. Banfield & R. Falcone (Co-PIs) DOE Chemical Imaging. 2006-2009. 3Yr $1.5M
  • In-situ measurement of deposit morphology in porous media
  • B. Gilbert (PI) and David C. Mays, University of Colorado at Denver, Co-PI. LBNL Program Development Grant (PDG) grant. 6 Month $50K.

Reviewing for Journals

  • Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta; Physical Review Letters; Environmental Science and Technology;

  • Chemistry of Materials; Journal of Physical Chemistry; Journal of Nanoparticle Research; Geochemistry Transactions; Langmuir.