The 2011 Christiaan Huygens Medal is awarded to Martin Hürlimann for his outstanding work in innovative instrumentation and analysis methods in the field of nuclear magnetic resonance to characterize fluidsaturated porous media with geophysical application to sub-surface measurements.
Martin Hürlimann, of Swiss nationality, was born on 30 June 1958. After receiving a diploma degree from ETH, Zurich and a PhD in Physics from University of British Colombia, Canada, Hürlimann spend two years at the University of California at Berkeley. Since 1992 he has been a staff scientist in different positions with Schlumberger in the USA. Hürlimann has made major contributions to the field of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance in four distinct areas: 1) The physics of porous media. He has developed the use of NMR measurement to characterize the pore space of sedimentary rocks based on relaxation and diffusion measurements with pulsed field gradients in standard NMR magnets. 2) NMR in grossly inhomogeneous fields. He has investigated how to make down-hole measurements with logging tools in less than perfect laboratory conditions, which has led to commercial applications for pulsing schemes, pre-polarization and the tuning of a commercial down-hole device. 3) Development of novel NMR measurements. He has pioneered the novel concept of two-dimensional measurements from NMR data by extracting diffusion distributions from the usual relaxation data. This was accomplished by developing new pulsing schemes and the inversion algorithm to put it into evidence. Its implementation, in a commercial down-hole device, led for the first time to the separation of NMR signals from different fluids. This concept has also found a large number of applications outside of geophysics, in material testing, food science and medical and biological science. 4) Fluid Typing. He has applied 2-D NMR to fluid properties in studying relationships between NMR quantities and fluid properties related to the composition of hydrocarbons, the implications for two-phase systems and wettability. Martin Hürlimann has authored/co-authored more than 60 refereed publications, and is the holder of 15 patents in the fields of nuclear magnetic resonance, its applications to geophysics and the related methods.