Earth Sciences Division (ESD) Department of Energy (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

Earth Sciences Division Staff: Michael Commer

Michael Commer

Michael Commer

Research Scientist

Geophysics Department



Phone: 510-486-6164

Fax: 510-486-5686


Biographical Summary

Dr. Michael Commer is a Career Geological Research Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Earth Science Division. His interests include large-scale, multi-dimensional, inverse and forward modeling problems arising in exploration and environmental geophysics, numerical methods on distributed computing platforms, accelerated hardware computing, and electromagnetic geophysics. He has over 10 years of experience in numerical programming, geophysical (joint) imaging and modeling methods. Dr. Commer started his career at LBNL in 2004 as a postdoctoral scientist, supported through a Feodor-Lynen fellowship by the German Alexander-von-Humboldt foundation. He graduated in 2003 at the University of Cologne (Germany). His Ph.D. focused on three-dimensional time-domain electromagnetic imaging methods, and included application of inverse methods to electromagnetic data from Merapi volcano (Indonesia).


  • Ph.D. - Institute of Geophysics, University of Cologne, Germany
    • Dissertation title:  “Three-dimensional inversion of transient-electromagnetic data: A comparative study”. Klaus-Liebrecht Award of the University of Cologne for oustanding dissertation.
  • Diploma - Institute of Geophysics, University of Cologne
    • Diploma thesis title: “A special method for the combined inversion of  long-offset transient electromagnetic and magneto-telluric data”. Departmental Award “Completed With Distinction”.

Professional Experience

  • 2006 –  Geological Research Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories.
  • 2004 –  Geological Research Postdoc, LBNL.
  • 2000 –  Research scientist and assisting faculty member for Prof. B. Tezkan, Prof. A. Hoerdt , Prof. F. M. Neubauer, Institute of Geophysics and Meteorology, University of Cologne.
  • 2001 –  Internship, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, USA.
  • 1999 – 2000 –  System Engineer, STN Atlas Elektronik, Bremen, Germany.
  • 1997 –  Summer internship at Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany.
  • 1996 –  Summer internship at YERALTI ARAMACILIK geophysical exploration company, Istanbul, Turkey.
  • 1995 –1998 –  Scientific assistant and part-time system administrator, University of Cologne.

Honors and Awards

  • 2009 –  R&D 100 Award (by R&D Magazine, for EMGeo ElectroMagnetic Geological Mapper: 3-D geophysical imaging package for large-scale electromagnetic data sets that arise in hydrocarbon exploration.
  • 2008 –  Invited speaker: Aachen Institute for Advanced Study in Computational Engineering Science, Aachen, Germany.
  • 2005 – 2007 –  Feodor-Lynen-Fellowship, German Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation.
  • 2004 –  Klaus-Liebrecht-Award for outstanding Ph.D. dissertation, University of Cologne.
  • 2001 –  Exchange visitor scholarship, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

Society Affiliations

  • Member, Society of Exploation Geophysicists.
  • Member, American Geophysical Union.
  • Member, European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers.