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

Earth Sciences Division Staff: Kenneth Hurst Williams

Kenneth Williams

Kenneth Hurst Williams


Environmental Remediation and Water Resources Program Lead

Geophysics Department


Phone: 510-486-6775

Fax: 510-486-5686


Biographical Summary

Ken Williams at Rifle, CO

Dr. Williams is a staff geological scientist in the Earth Sciences Division of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California and the author or co-author of over 70 peer-reviewed publications. He received a B.S. in Geology, an M.S. in Geophysics, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy & Management from the University of California, Berkeley. He has been a pioneer in the field of biogeophysics, with a particular emphasis on the development of electrochemically-based techniques for characterizing subsurface microbial activity. His current research interests include seasonal variations in redox-sensitive metals and radionuclides and the role of floodplains as repositories for critical elements, such as carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, iron and manganese. He currently serves as the chief scientist and field site manager for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Rifle, Colorado (USA) field station, which seeks to quantify coupled microbiological, geochemical, and hydrological processes that control elemental cycling within floodplain deposits along the Colorado River corridor.

Photo:  Dr. Kenneth H. Williams and field assistant in the mountains above DOE’s Rifle, Colorado field station.


  • University of California, Berkeley, Environmental Science, Policy & Management, Ph.D., 2008
  • University of California, Berkeley, Geophysics, M.S., 2002
  • University of California, Berkeley, Geology, B.A., 1993

Professional Experience

  • 2013-present Environmental Remediation and Water Resources Program Lead, Earth Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, CA.
  • 2009-2012 Geological Staff Scientist, Earth Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, CA.
  • 2009-present Geological Research Scientist, Earth Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, CA.
  • 1998-2009 Senior Scientific and Engineering Associate, Earth Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, CA.

Honors and Awards

  • 2005,  Outstanding Student Paper; Near Surface Geophysics Section of the American Geophysical Union, 2005 Joint Assembly, “Monitoring microbial chemotaxis and sulfate-reduction using the self-potential method”.

Synergistic Activities

  • Pioneered development of active biogeophysical monitoring methods; developed a fundamental understanding of the influence of subsurface biogeochemical processes on geophysical properties and the development of new tools for non-invasive characterization of such processes; emphasis on the electrochemical interpretation of geophysical anomalies within the context of static or dynamic geochemical and mineralogical conditions; development of new tools/methodologies for monitoring the emplacement and/or efficacy of novel remediation strategies, such as slow-release nutrient sources and organic carbon compounds.
  • Extensive experience in geophysical data acquisition and interpretation with an emphasis on surface and borehole complex resistivity, ground penetrating radar, seismic, and borehole logging methods.

Collaborators and Other Affiliations - Primary Collaborators

  • J.F. Banfield (University of California, Berkeley); D.R. Lovley (University of Massachusetts); L.D. Slater (Rutgers University); P.E. Long (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory); A. Kemna (University of Bonn);
  • S.S. Hubbard (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

Patent Disclosures

  • 2010 -  IB-2316 An Organic Molecule Coated CoFION Amendment for Biostimulation of FeRB (DOE #S-110,776). Benjamin Gilbert, Jillian F. Banfield, and Kenneth H. Williams.

Editor Positions

  • Journal of Geophysical Research – Biogeosciences (Associate Editor)