Dobrin Lecture - University of Houston
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Dobrin Lecture


  1. Maximum of 50 students allowed to present posters.
  2. Poster Submission: 
  3. Students not presenting posters: Please RSVP here. Admission is free.
  4. Prize categories - to be determined.
  1. Volunteer to be a Judge here for the student poster competition: This is counts as your RSVP.
    • Judges should NOT RSVP again using any other link or form.
    • The sign up link explains the judging instructions.
    • UH students cannot be judges. 
    • To cancel, please email Kirene Ramesar at
    • Sufficient judges have signed up; therefore, the link has been removed. 


EAS Invites you to the first virtual

27th Annual Milton B. Dobrin Lecture 

Spanning hydrocarbons to humanitarianism: Where is geophysics going?

Monday, March 8, 2021

................................. FEATURED SPEAKERS ..................................

* Maurice Nessim - President of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists
* Paul Bauman - first SEG Humanitarian Award Winner
* Andy Sabin - Board of Directors of the Geothermal Resources Council

Maurice Nessim

Maurice Nessim 

Maurice Nessim is the President of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) and has been an active SEG member since 1991, serving as an SEG director at large in 2015 to 2016. He has a BS and an MS in physics, nuclear physics, and geophysics and has won several prestigious awards and patents including the Schlumberger Chairman’s Award. He is board member of the International Association of Geophysical Contractors (IAGC), for which he served as chairman in 2017. He is a member of the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers, Society of Petroleum Engineers, and American Association of Petroleum Geologists. In 2018, he was appointed as a board member of the Houston-based Technology Collaboration Center, an organization that fosters collaboration across technology sectors — including space,
medical, and energy — to address real-world problems.

Nessim has more than 30 years of oil and gas industry experience in various technical and management positions. He has authored and coauthored more than 25 technical papers that have been presented at various international conferences. He joined WesternGeco as a geophysicist in 1981 where he served as
area vice president for the Middle East and Asia, area vice president for North and
South America, and global vice president of operations. 
Read Nessim's extended bio.

Boldly Embracing the Future

The dire, unforeseen intersection of plunging oil prices due to oversupply and the collapse in demand due to the coronavirus outbreak has left us with record-setting decreases in exploration and production spending, which we know inevitably leads to lower geophysical investment. Fortunately, since the 2014 market slump, the geophysical market has consolidated significantly, and business models have adapted to be nimbler and asset light. Additionally, unlike in 2014, energy companies are reacting quickly to preserve cash flow by making dramatic cuts to capital and operational expenditures, including significant personnel reductions, to preserve liquidity. While this reactive flexibility is laudable, there is another consequence we cannot deny. This unique market downturn has resulted in an exodus of industry talent — be it through layoffs, resignations, or retirements. Employment in the oil and gas industry was reduced by 28% during the last downturn, and despite a slight recovery in 2019, it is expected to drop an additional 32% by 2021. Let that sink in. In five years, we will have reduced the workforce — including geoscience experts — by nearly half. How we manage our valuable human capital will be one of our greatest challenges going forward. We will need to find a balance between retaining the expertise of experienced employees and attracting and training new talent through university programs.  There is no question that both the energy industry and the applied-geophysics industry are at a crossroads defined not only by the current pandemic and oil prices but also by the inevitable, fundamental structural changes facing a global economy increasingly focused on decarbonization and renewable resources. While the future is largely uncertain, one thing is sure. We will not survive without evolving — and doing so quickly. We will need to act and think in new ways. So, what is the right path to inventing the future we want? When I asked myself that question, I knew I did not have all the answers. I engaged more than 30 leaders and scientists in deep, generative conversations. I sought their input on the crucial questions we must confront: What will our applied-geophysics industry look like in five years? What are the critical skills required to lead a successful energy transition and to thrive in this future? How do we harness and leverage the promise of the digital transformation? What will be the role of geophysics and geoscience? How should universities adapt?  

Paul Bauman 
Paul Bauman

Paul Bauman
received a bachelor’s degree in Geological Engineering from Princeton University, and a Master’s degree from the University of Waterloo in groundwater and geophysics. He has more than 30 years experience in near surface geophysical exploration for groundwater, natural resources, tunnels, unexploded bombs, industrial waste, ancient burials, and anything that someone may want to find without drilling or digging. He is best known for his participation in a number of archaeological documentaries including Nova’s Ancient Refuge in the Holy Land, Deadly Deception at Sobibor, and National Geographic’s Finding Atlantis.

More importantly, though, Paul has applied creative geophysical solutions to challenging groundwater situations in remote locations over much of his career, including in Africa, Central America, Southeast Asia, and Canada. Bauman successfully completed Geoscientists Without Borders® projects in Kakuma and Uganda, giving good connection to the namesake of being the first SEG Humanitarian Award Winner.

Good Geoscience in Dire Places: Searching for Water in Humanitarian Crises

The number of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), worldwide, is about 80 million. Most refugees are fleeing water‐stressed and conflict‐torn countries such as South Sudan, Somalia, and Syria. Generally, the host countries for refugee populations are also arid or semi‐arid, such as Kenya, Chad, and Jordan. In the marginal landscapes where refugee camps are usually sited, groundwater is often the only practical source of water for drinking, cooking, and sanitation. A lack of access to adequate water supplies is directly tied to increasing occurrences of cholera, dysentery, hepatitis, trachoma, and other diseases. Today, with Covid‐19 outbreaks already occurring in overcrowded refugee camps, improving hygiene is critical. A well‐targeted geophysical exploration program can make the difference between a successful water supply program and one doomed to failure. In this talk, I lead you on the geophysical search and then the discovery of water in a few of the refugee camps and conflict zones in East Africa. In each of these settings, the cause of human displacement is distinct, the geology and hydrogeology vary, the landscapes are strikingly different, but the need for water is equally desperate. In one of the largest refugee camps in the world, in the Turkana desert of Kenya, seismic and resistivity surveys helped to increase the water supply to the camp and, simultaneously, a previously unrecognized public health crisis was addressed. In Northern Uganda, in the devastation left behind by Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army, village water supplies were restored following geophysical surveys and hydrochemical testing. More importantly, the local Ugandan crews were trained to carry on with this technical work. Finally, in the midst of a civil war in the world’s newest country, South Sudan, an emergency mission relying on resistivity surveys took advantage of a cessation of hostilities to
find water in villages stranded by the conflict.

Andy Sabin

 Andy Sabin

Andy Sabin is the U.S. Navy’s Subject Matter Expert (SME) for geothermal systems. He was the Director of the Navy’s Geothermal Program Office (GPO), CA, from 2008-2013 during which time he oversaw management of the Coso geothermal field and exploration of geothermal systems on select DoD installations in the western U.S. and abroad. As SME, Andy provides technical oversight in geothermal exploration, resource management and R&D and assists in strategic planning for GPO. His 30+ years of experience in earth sciences also includes work in minerals, environmental investigations, and education. Andy earned degrees from the U. Maryland (BA, American Studies and BS, Geology), U. Pittsburgh (MSc, Geology) and the Colorado School of Mines (PhD, Economic Geology). He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Geothermal Resources Council (President, 2019-2020) and the International Geothermal Association (2017-2023).

Geothermal Energy: What is it and What is its Future?

One of the largest geothermal power producing fields in North America is owned and controlled by the U.S. military. The Coso geothermal field, entirely within the fence line of a >1 million acre, high-end weapons testing base called China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station, has been producing power and selling electricity to the CA grid since 1987. It was discovered and is overseen by the U.S. Navy’s Geothermal Program Office (GPO).

Geological and geophysical investigations at Coso helped quantify the size and potential power producing capacity of this volcanic-hosted field and has informed subsequent exploration and R&D efforts. Ongoing syntheses of this ever-growing data base and interpretations in a market that is demanding renewable power solutions offers GPO a perspective on the future of geothermal. This talk will be an overview of geothermal, what it is and where it is going, through the unique lens of the GPO.

Admission is free. Please RSVP here.
  • This is required for all those who will be in attendance, such as:
    • UH faculty
    • UH Staff
    • UH Alumni
    • Students not presenting posters
    • Industry guests
    • Other guests and the general public
  • Please provide accurate emails in the RSVP form to receive links to the Dobrin Lecture.


  • Volunteer to be a Judge here for the student poster competition. This is counts as your RSVP.
    • Judges should NOT RSVP again using any other link or form.
    • The sign up link explains the judging instructions.
    • UH students cannot be judges. 
    • To cancel, please email Kirene Ramesar at
    • Sufficient judges have signed up; therefore, the link has been removed. 
Virtual links to the event will be emailed to the RSVP attendees' list on Friday March 5, 2021 at 9am, CST.

Courtney AnzaloneDirector of Events, UH Alumni Association
Jiajia SunAssistant Professor, EAS Dept., University of Houston

Schedule of events:
4:30 PM: Student Poster Presentations via individual Chat Rooms
6:00 PM: Overview of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Dept at UH – Tom Lapen, EAS Dept. Chairman
6:10 PM: Geophysics at UH – Rob Stewart, Professor, EAS Dept.
6:30 PM: Boldly Embracing the Future – Maurice Nessim 
6:50 PM: Good Geoscience in Dire Places: Searching for Water in Humanitarian Crises – Paul Bauman
7:10 PM: Geothermal Energy: What is it and What is its Future? – Andy Sabin
7:30 PM: Panel Discussion on the Future of Geophysics – Nessim, Bauman, Sabin, Stewart, Lapen
8:15 PM: Presentation of Student Poster Award Winners – Chairpersons