Misac Nabighian

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Misac Nabighian
Misac Nabighian headshot 2016.png
Membership Honorary and Life
PhD Geophysics
BSc university Polytechnic Institute of Petrol and Gas, Bucharest
PhD university Lamont Geological Observatory, Columbia University


Misac N. Nabighian is a Distinguished Senior Scientist at the Colorado School of Mines. Misac is a leader in the application of potential field and electromagnetic methods to mining problems for several decades.


SEG Life Membership 2016 [1]

Misac Nabighian, a Distinguished Senior Scientist at the Colorado school of Mines, has been a leader in the application of potential field and electromagnetic methods to mining problems for several decades. During that time, he has been active in the SEG Mining and Geothermal Committee, and he edited and authored the two volume book “Electromagnetic Methods in Applied Geophysics” [2] which was published by SEG under Investigations in Geophysics No. 3.


Biography Citation for SEG Life Membership 2016

By Yaoguo Li

Misac was born in Bucharest, Romania. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Polytechnic Institute of Petrol and Gas in 1954 with a degree in geophysics. After a short apprenticeship as a party chief of an electrical exploration crew, he became, in 1957, the assistant to Sabba S. Ștefănescu, one of the leading theoreticians of his generation and whose influence clearly set the tone for Misac's future endeavors. They wrote the first theoretical paper on the magnetometric resistivity method, and won the Theoretical Value and Elegance Prize awarded by the Romanian Academy of Sciences for a paper in which they derived an analytic solution for the spiraling magnetic field lines about two inclined long current-carrying wires.

In 1962, Misac immigrated to the United States and in 1966, he obtained a doctorate in geophysics at the Lamont Geological Observatory (now Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory) at Columbia University. Two years before his graduation, Newmont Exploration Limited offered him both financial support and a position with the company to tackle theoretical problems related to the interpretation of potential-field and electrical data. He joined Newmont in 1967 and was employed by them for 31 years until his retirement in 1997. During his years at Newmont, he developed a number of novel theoretical concepts and techniques to interpret gravity, magnetic, DC resistivity, induced polarization, time-domain electromagnetic, borehole, and radiometric data.

Misac has many excellent publications in geophysics. The magnetometric resistivity method has received his continual attention, and his work on Hilbert transform led to the development of the analytic signal technique to quantitatively interpret potential-field data both in 2D (1972, 1974) and 3D (1984). Another important paper, "Quasistatic transient response of a conducting half-space: An approximate representation," (1979) provided insight into the behavior of transient electromagnetic fields as they diffuse into the earth. The impact of this paper has been tremendous and it was selected for republication in the November 1985 50th anniversary issue of Geophysics.

In 1984, he was the editor of a special issue of Geophysics devoted to time-domain electromagnetics and in 1990, he was both editor and contributor to the two SEG volumes, Electromagnetic Methods in Applied Geophysics, which are still two of the best-selling books published by SEG.

Upon retirement from Newmont, he was invited to join the faculty at Colorado School of Mines (CSM) as a Distinguished Senior Scientist, where he presently teaches two courses and carries out research within the Center for Gravity, Electrical, and Magnetic (CGEM) studies. During his tenure at CSM, he coauthored a number of papers, including one with Richard Hansen entitled "Unification of Werner and Euler deconvolutions in 3D via the generalized Hilbert Transform" that established a solid theoretical basis for the method of Extended Euler Deconvolution and was successfully used in the detection of UXO's using the magnetic method. During the same period, he and Tom LaFehr copublished a book, Fundamentals of Gravity Exploration, and he and Yaoguo Li coauthored a chapter, "Magnetic Methods of Exploration — Principles and Algorithms," in Treatise on Geophysics. In addition, he coauthored a number of review papers on gravity, magnetic, and electrical methods, which were published during the various milestones of SEG's existence and some of which were republished in a later classics issue.

Misac has held academic appointments at universities in Arizona, Berkeley, Columbia, and Toronto. He served on innumerable visiting committees to these and other universities. He was an associate editor of Geophysics for electrical methods from 1977 to 1981 and was the first recipient of the Gerald W. Hohmann Award for excellence in electromagnetic research. In 1987, he was awarded Honorary Membership in SEG for his seminal work on electromagnetic methods and in 1994, he was elected Doctor Honoris Causa from the Polytechnic Institute of Bucharest.

Misac is exceptionally friendly, warm, and caring; he is truly a scholar and gentleman! Misac brings out the best in those interacting with him, and gives unreserved advices on life, career, and scientific research. He has had an enormously positive impact on innumerable geophysicists. On behalf of his many friends and colleagues, it has been a distinct privilege for me to write this citation for Misac.

"Misac Nabighian, 1987"

Biography Citation for SEG Honorary Membership 1987

Contributed by Nigel Edwards


Some fifteen years ago at an Annual Meeting of the SEG, I recall meeting a friendly, well-read, enthusiastic, courteous gentleman who was kind enough to spend several hours with me discussing my research. The gentleman, used in the true sense of the word, was Misac Nabighian. My experience is far from unique. Several of my colleagues, contemporaries and a large number of graduate students can recall similar experiences. Misac gave freely of his time and his knowledge, and in doing so stimulated more advanced research in the universities than any other in his field. Although he is officially honored by our Society for his diligence as an Editor and for the excellence of his research into mining electromagnetic theory and methods, he richly deserves his election as an Honorary Member solely for his unselfish cooperation with others.

Misac was born in Bucharest, Rumania. He graduated from the Mining Institute there in 1954 and served a short apprenticeship as a party chief of an exploration crew. His principal interest was in electrical methods and in 1957 he became the assistant to Professor S. S. Stefanescu at the Institute of Oil, Gas and Geology. Stefanescu is one of the leading theoreticians of his generation, and his influence clearly set the tone for Misac's future endeavors. Stefanescu and Nabighian wrote the first theoretical papers on the magnetometric resistivity method. They won the Theoretical Value and Elegance Prize awarded by the Rumanian Academy of Sciences for a paper in which an analytic form for the spiraling magnetic field lines about two inclined long current-carrying wires is derived.

Misac emigrated to the United States and received his doctorate at the Lamont Geological Observatory of Columbia University. He joined Newmont Exploration in 1967 and has been with them since that time, working first in Danbury and then in Tucson. Dr. Arthur Brant describes how he hired Misac as a theoretician to fill a gap left by the departure of the Jerome Group quite some challenge for a recent graduate. Misac helped to develop interpretation packages for a wide variety of mining geophysical techniques from induced polarization through transient electromagnetics to gravity and magnetics. Misac's principal professional contribution remains enlightened interpretation of geophysical field data.

Misac has many excellent publications in Geophysics. The magnetometric resistivity method has received his continual attention and his work on two-dimensional Hilbert transform theory applied to potential field interpretation is unusually elegant. The best known and most important paper is also the most brief. His Quasistatic transient response of a conducting half-space An approximate representation (October 1979) provides insight into the behavior of transient electromagnetic fields as they diffuse into the earth. The impact of the paper has been tremendous. It was selected for the 1985 classics issue of the journal.

Misac has served the Society very effectively as Associate Editor for Electrical Methods, a daunting task, for two terms. He was fair, thorough and diplomatic. A command of seven languages made the task of identifying original contributions just a little easier. He edited the Special Issue on Time Domain Electromagnetics (July 1984): a collection of state-of-the-art papers which is the authoritative reference on the subject. He is currently giving birth to two volumes of invited papers on electromagnetic methods. Without Misac's persistent prodding over an extended pregnancy, these volumes could never be produced.

In private life, Misac married his charming wife Aida in 1966. The Nabighians have two children, Diana and Eddie, commencing university. Misac plays a keen, hedonic tennis game, and as vice-president of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, he is active behind the scene bringing their computer system up to geophysical standards!

I close where I began, on the education of young geophysicists. While ever active in the service of his employer, Misac has nevertheless found the time to visit the university community and to teach. He has held academic appointments at Berkeley, Colorado School of Mines, Columbia, Toronto and Utah, and currently at the University of Arizona. He has served on innumerable visiting committees to these and other universities and he has consistently supported academic research. Misac provides one of those rare vital links between the professional and the academic. On behalf of his many friends and colleagues in both sectors, it has been a distinct privilege for me to write this citation for him.

References

  1. SEG Honors and Awards Ceremony , SEG Dallas 18 October 2016, Omni Dallas Hotel, Dallas Ballroom, International Exposition and Eighty-Sixth Annual Meeting, Dallas, Tx, p, 15.
  2. Nabighian, M. N. (Ed.). (1988). Electromagnetic methods in applied geophysics (Vol. 2). SEG Books.