Gerald H. Luttrell, who holds the Massey Professorship in Virginia Tech's Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering, is the 2012 recipient of the Robert H. Richards Award from the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration.

According to the Robert H. Richards award committee, Luttrell was selected in recognition of "the significant global impact of his scientific contributions and engineering excellence for teaching, research, scholarly activity, and professional service in mineral and coal processing." 

The Robert H. Richards Award, established in 1948 and funded by the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers (SME), recognizes achievement in any form that unmistakably furthers the art of mineral beneficiation in any of its branches. Election to this honor is by SME's Mineral and Metallurgical Processing Division executive committee. Previous recipients of the award include Virginia Tech's Roe-Hoan Yoon, a member of the same department and the National Academy of Engineering, in 2007.

Luttrell earned his bachelor's degree, master's degree, and Ph.D. in mining engineering from Virginia Tech. He has completed projects worth over $14 million, obtained 15 process patents and authored more than 150 scholarly publications in journals and proceedings, as well as more than 180 technical reports. His research has contributed to the development of innovative technologies for coal preparation and mineral processing.

Luttrell is the previous recipient of American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers' Nicholls and Aplan awards and is recipient of the Pittsburgh Coal Mining Institute of America's Stephen McCann Educational Excellence Award. He has twice served as a Henry Krumb lecturer, and is a five-time recipient of the department's Outstanding Faculty Award, a four-time recipient of Virginia Tech's Academy of Teaching Excellence Award and a recipient of the College of Engineering Dean's Award for Excellence in Public Service.

Luttrell will be presented with the Robert H. Richards award during a dinner at the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration's 2012 Annual Meeting in Seattle, Wash., and he will be further recognized at the Mineral and Metallurgical Processing division luncheon. The Robert H. Richards award consists of a silver vanning plaque engraved with the name of the award, the name of the recipient, and a citation of achievement. The honor is accompanied by a lecture given by Luttrell during the division's awards plenary session.

Written by Angelo Biviano, writing and communications program coordinator in the Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering.