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Biographies \ 
Vladimir Grechka

Those who receive the Karcher Award are young geophysicists who have made significant scientific contributions to exploration geophysics in a relatively brief time. In Vladimir's case, he first started his geophysics career in Russia and then, about three years ago, started anew in the U.S. in a totally different language. Only a year after becoming a teaching assistant at the University of Texas-Dallas, Vladimir was the primary author of three papers (with George McMechan) on three very different topics in forward and inverse wave propagation in heterogeneous, anisotropic media. (And still he found time to maintain the computer network in the geosciences department.) His foray into publishing papers in English followed closely on the heels of publishing nine other papers in peer-reviewed journals in Russia, racking up a total of 48 scientific publications.
     A student of Professor Sergey Goldin, Vladimir earned his doctorate in geophysics and geophysical prospecting from Novosibirsk State University. From 1984 to 1994 he worked on improvements to the boundary integral method, development of reflectivity software, and methods and software for ray tracing in 3-D anisotropic media as well as seismic processing in general.
     In January of 1996 Vladimir was accepted as a postdoctoral fellow at the Colorado School of Mines' Center for Wave Phenomena where he concentrated on traveltime inversion and parameter estimation in 3-D heterogeneous anisotropic media. Of valuable assistance to graduate students, Vladimir has made a number of fundamental contributions to a wide range of practical problems in estimating parameters of layered anisotropic media from conventional P-wave seismic data.
     At present Vladimir is primary author of six papers awaiting peer review: "Feasibility of nonhyperbolic moveout inversion in transversely isotropic media;" "3-D description of normal moveout in anisotropic media;" "Transverse isotropy versus lateral heteroegeneity in the inversion of P-wave reflection traveltimes;" "Normal-moveout velocity and the generalized Dix equation for inhomogeneous anisotropic media;" "3-D normal moveout velocity analysis and parameter estimation for orthorhomic media;" and "Joint inversion of P- and PS-waves in orthorhombic media." Small wonder that after just 19 months as a postdoc, Vladimir was offered a position as research professor in CSM's Department of Geophysics.
     Awards are not new to Vladimir. In 1984 he received an honors diploma from Novosibirsk State University, and in 1992 he received the East European Award from the European Geophysical Society for study of the geometrical structure of shear-wave group-velocity surfaces.
     Ascending great heights is not new to Vladimir either. His sporting passion is doing technical climbs upSand beyondSthe vertical faces of major rock cliffs. For a climb on Chapdara Peak (5050 m) in Pamir between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, he won a silver medal of Russian championship in technical mountaineering. This climb included ascending a 2000 m vertical face! (My guess is that sleeping in a cradle tent hanging from a vertical cliff provides his scientific inspirationSI have yet to ask him if he carries a laptop on his climbs.) According to Vladimir, "I do not think I have any other interest (except science) that can compare with the intensity and satisfaction that climbing gives." Consistent with the speed with which he moves through challenging geophysical problems, Vladimir may also hold the speed record in climbing the 1860-m high Svobodnaya Korea in Kyrgyzstan in a day and a half.
     New scientific challenges, new country, new heights, a great willingness to share ideas, and the wonderful ability to convey results with clarity: all these things characterize this singular young geophysicist.

     Ken Larner



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