Associated Press

RENO — Dr. Albert Yu-Min Lin, the principal investigator of an effort to locate the tomb of Genghis Khan, has won the Desert Research Institute’s 2014 Nevada Medal.

The University of California, San Diego research scientist will be honored for his pioneering work in digital exploration and science education at dinners March 25 in Reno and March 27 in Las Vegas.

Lin, 32, is the youngest research scientist and the first materials scientist and engineer to receive the Nevada Medal in its 27-year history. He holds a doctorate in materials science and engineering.

“Albert is a pioneer in a new era of digital exploration and science education through public engagement,” DRI President Stephen Wells said in a statement. “His work has motivated participation from thousands of people in real-time, on-the-ground scientific discovery in ways we never imagined.”

As creator of the international multidisciplinary effort to locate the tomb of the legendary Mongolian emperor, Lin has lead expeditions to the most remote parts of the world and developed innovative platforms for satellite, aerial and subsurface remote sensing in exploration.

His team’s pioneering work was featured in a National Geographic Documentary, “The Forbidden Tomb of Genghis Khan,” in 2011. He also has been selected as an “Emerging Explorer” of the National Geographic Society in the field of technology-enabled exploration.

The long-lost tomb remains undiscovered. Khan died in 1227.

“To me the Nevada Medal comes with the heavy responsibility of honoring the spirit of human curiosity … the desire to seek the unknown, stand at its bank and venture in,” Lin said.

“Today the frontiers of exploration exist in science, driven by a need to expand our knowledge of the world around us, and defined by how we utilize that knowledge. I am humbled and incredibly honored to be a small part of that,” he added.

DRI is the research arm of Nevada’s higher education system.