UH researcher earns international recognition for innovation in geophysics

Dr. Niels Grobbe
Niels Grobbe

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa researcher was honored as the first-place recipient of the Innovation Award, presented at the Fifth International Conference on Engineering Geophysics held in United Arab Emirates.

Niels Grobbe is an assistant researcher with the Hawaiʻi Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) and Water Resources Research Center (WRRC). As the first-place winner, Grobbe was awarded $10,000.

“This is a very prestigious award, and WRRC is very proud of Niels’ accomplishment,” said WRRC Director Tom Giambelluca. “To finish first in the Innovation Award for Geophysics competition is a great achievement and reinforces the high expectations we have for Niels as he continues to excel in this cutting-edge field. We look forward to all the innovative work that Niels will bring to bear on critical problems affecting Hawaiʻi and the Pacific region.”

Grobbe’s submission, “Seismoelectric Surface Wave Analysis for Characterization of Formation Properties, using Dispersive Relative Spectral Amplitudes,” was selected as the winning contribution after a highly competitive evaluation procedure. He submitted a four-page extended conference abstract, a white paper and letters of recommendation. The award-winning researcher also gave a 45-minute presentation and sustained an extended question and answer session.

“We were delighted to be able to hire Niels onto our faculty, and this award illustrates why,” said Interim HIGP Director Rob Wright. “He and his co-authors have developed a new method for exploring the movement of fluids in Earth’s crust, a method which will allow people to use existing approaches to answer a fundamentally different set of science questions.”

Grobbe thanked his colleague, Sjoerd de Ridder from the University of Leeds, United Kingdom, for collaborating with him on what he describes as an exciting innovation.

Photo courtesy of SEG Middle East

“I am truly honored and humbled by receiving this competitive and prestigious award, and by the international recognition for our innovation on ‘Seismoelectric Surface Wave Analysis for Characterization of Formation Properties, using Dispersive Relative Spectral Amplitudes,’” said Grobbe. “I believe the innovation has the potential to revolutionize the way we think about seismoelectric signals, its data acquisition, and its applications for studying porous media, groundwater, and other subsurface fluid processes at a variety of spatial scales.”