This biography was extracted from the Memorial published in the AAPG Bulletin, v. 88, no 1 (January 2004), pp. 126-129.
Dr. Robert K. Goldhammer was born in Boston, Massachusetts to Joan and Robert F. Goldhammer. He was raised in nearby Winchester and graduated from Belmont Hill High School. He received a B.S. in geology from Colgate in 1979, an M.S. in geology from the University of Oklahoma in 1982, and a Ph.D. from John Hopkins University in 1987.
Bob was first employed as a research geologist in stratigraphic prediction at Shell Development from 1987 to 1988, where he generated a novel sequence stratigraphic analysis of the Permian basin. He moved to Exxon Production Research where from 1988 to 1995 he was a specialist in carbonate facies and sequence stratigraphy. He was a lead instructor in the famous Exxon Training School with legendary field courses in West Texas, northeast Mexico, and the Bahamas.
From 1995 to 1996, he was a research scientist at the University of Texas Bureau of Economic Geology, where he worked on the Andean foreland basins in Argentina. He left UT to become a consulting geologist on hydrocarbon plays in Mesozoic carbonate sections around the world. Bob joined Texaco International Exploration as an explorationist in 1998.
Bob was the lead author of 12 major papers and co-author of eight others, several of which continue to be cited in the literature. He was an unusually active participant at professional meetings, where he organized symposia and gave more than 50 presentations, mostly at AAPG events. In 1997, he was awarded the Excellence of Poster Presentation at the AAPG/SEPM annual meeting for a presentation on carbonate sedimentation during icehouse and greenhouse conditions. Bob was selected by AAPG as a Distinguished Lecturer for 1994-95. By 2000, he had given invited scientific lectures at 26 institutions. He also led countless society and industry trips to Italy, west Texas, and northeast Mexico.
Bob joined the Department of Geological Sciences as an assistant professor in January 2001. Not surprisingly, Bob won the Knebel Teaching Award at the end of his first full year of teaching, an award based solely upon a vote of the students. He went on to win the College of Natural Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award, which is based upon class evaluations and nomination by the chairman, at the end of his second full year of teaching.
Robert K. Goldhammer died May 26, 2003, in west Texas when the vehicle he was riding in overturned. Goldhammer was on his way to teach summer field camp for students from the Department of Geological Sciences in the John A. and Katherine G. Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas, Austin. Bob left behind his beloved wife, Ursula, a beautiful daughter, Nora, and handsome son, Max. In many ways, Bob was larger than life. A brilliant geologist, gifted musician, and wit second to none.
The Robert K. Goldhammer Memorial Grant is awarded annually to a deserving student whose research involves the study of carbonates. This grant is awarded through an endowment to the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Grants-in-Aid program and is endowed by the AAPG Foundation through generous contributions received in memory of Robert K. Goldhammer from his many friends, family and colleagues.