The 11th RPI for May-June 2017: James Berryman

Senior Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in Berkeley CA



About James Berryman 

Jim has undergraduate degrees in Math and Physics from the University of Kansas (in Lawrence Kansas). His advanced degrees are in Physics (major in solid state physics) and an Electrical Engineering minor (in nonlinear electrical systems). He graduated in 1975.

Jim did some postdoctoral at the Math Research Center in Madison Wisconsin on nonlinear systems. Then joined CONOCO in Ponca City OK 1976 -- worked with Jerry Ware and Bob Stolt and some others at CONOCO. His time spent working at CONOCO was very important to his later career path, and gave him many directions that his research could go for various future jobs

Jim left for an NSF Postdoctoral position at NYU in 1977. Then moved to New Jersey and worked for Bell Labs at their Ocean Systems Study Center in New Jersey. He did some of his earliest work Biot theory while working at Bell Labs. Then in 1980 he moved to California, so he could work at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab in Livermore CA. Jim worked at LLNL until moving to the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in Berkeley CA in 2006. He served as Dept Head for Geophysics at LBNL for about 3 years, and have been a researcher there since until the present time (2017).

He has authored over 150 journal articles, a comparable number of conference proceedings papers and company internal reports, and holds four patents.

His research interests include wave-propagation behavior of rocks containing fluids and seismic and electrical imaging methods for applications to geophysical prospecting. He is a member of APS, AGU, ASA, and SEG


Advice for early career scientists (rock physicists, geophysicists, etc.)
(This can be in term of inspiration or direction you see young scientists should focus on)

It is very important to take a broad view of what skills and expertise a person should acquire, since the next problem you face may be very different from the last one. Physics and Mathematics are both key to solving technology problems. So are strong computer skills and generally gaining broad enough experience so you can think outside to the last box, and into the next one. Geophysical problems require understanding of complex interactions among solids, fluids, and both loosely assembled and highly stressed granular media.



Challenges you see in taking rock physics to the next level (This can be unresolved issues in rock physics in general or in a particular field you are working on)

Since these issues seem to change fairly rapidly with time, the best advice is probably to gain a broad set of technical skills, including solid mechanics, fluid mechanics, nonlinear analysis, and perhaps most important, but hardest to achieve, is to learn how granular systems saturated with fluids behave under different types of stress.

Clearly these skills take time to acquire. It is important not to lose focus, and to be patient both with yourself and with others who may also be struggling to achieve the same or some similar goals.


We thank Jim for his continuous contributions to the rock physics community.