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Seminar - Frédéric Nguyen (University of Liège and K.U. Leuven)

Data assimilation and environmental geophysics : perspectives in terms of hydrothermy and site cleaning.

Dec 02, 2015 from 09:30 AM to 11:00 AM

Where Aula Trasporti, viale del Risorgimento 2

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While the surface components of continental waters, such as streams, lakes and glaciers, are a very familiar part of our landscapes, the vast majority of continental water resources resides and flows in the subsurface, and is thus broadly inaccessible to direct observation. The growing societal needs for freshwater, energy and waste management imply that subsurface environments are increasingly subject to multiple (possibly competing) uses of water resources (e.g. groundwater abstraction or contamination) and energy (e.g. geothermal energy or CO2 sequestration) while being endangered by anthropogenic contamination. Society has responded to this challenge by demanding an increase in observation (e.g., EU water framework directive). These efforts have created a great challenge in our ability to assimilate those multiple datasets and to quantify processes in the subsurface. We here present a framework to integrate multiple datasets that allows to address and quantify the uncertainty inherent to indirect observations such as those occuring in the subsurface and provide two showcases where such framework can be applied: a hydrothermal application and a bioremediation experiment.

Frédéric Nguyen, Brief Curriculum:

2010-Present : Professor (part-time), Faculty of Applied Sciences, K.U. Leuven (Belgium).
2007-Present : Professor, Department of Architecture, Geology, Environment and
Constructions, Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of Liège (Belgium).
2001-2005 : PhD in the Applied Sciences Faculty, Université de Liège (Belgium); co-promotion from University Josep Fourier Grenoble (France).
1996-2001 : Master in civil engineering (engineering geology), Université de Liège (Belgium).

Frédéric Nguyen obtained his PhD degree at the Université de Liège in 2005 dedicated to the development and application of geophysical methods to detect and image active faults in slowly deforming regions. During his PhD research, his main interests were to develop methodologies based on image and signal processing to objectively interpret electrical resistivity data and seismic data (active and passive) for shallow surveys. From a seismic hazard point of view, his research allowed unveiling surface ruptures associated with the strongest earthquake recorded in France (Provence) in the twentieth century.
He then worked from 2005 to 2008 as a post-doctoral researcher at the Forschungszentrum Jülich within the framework of the European project ALERT on the sustainable management of water resources by automated real-time monitoring in coastal aquifers. His research interest then shifted towards environmental geophysics and inverse problems. He contributed to the development of the code CRTOMO for the inversion of complex electrical resistivity data together with Professor Andreas Kemna. Of particular research interest were the development of image appraisal quantities and time-lapse inversion schemes.
Since 2007, he is a Professor in Applied Geophysics at the University of Liège where he leads a research team, and was appointed in 2010 as a part-time Professor at KULeuven. To date, F. Nguyen succesfully supervised three PhDs and two post-doctoral researcher. Currently, he supervises five PhD students. The research focus of his group lies on one hand in solving geophysical inverse problems and associated topics (e.g. uncertainty analysis) and on another hand in the integration of geophysical data in highly multidisciplinary fields of research (geothermy, bioremediation, concrete in civil engineering).

More information at:
Full publication available at:
Researchgate page:

Linked publications:
T. Hermans, F. Nguyen, and J. Caers. "Uncertainty in training image-based inversion of hydraulic head data constrained to ERT data: workflow and case study." Water Resources Research 51 (2015): 5332-5352.

T. Hermans, F. Nguyen, T. Robert, and A. Revil. "Geophysical Methods for Monitoring Temperature Changes in Shallow Low Enthalpy Geothermal Systems." Energies 7 (2014): 5083-5118.

T. Masy, D. Caterina, O. Tromme, B. Lavigne, P. Thonart, S. Hiligsmann, and F. Nguyen. "Electrical resistivity tomography to monitor enhanced biodegradation of hydrocarbons with Rhodococcus erythropolis T902.1 at a pilot scale." Journal of Contaminant Hydrology (in press).