Michael D. Max, FN05

Michael D. Max, FN05

It is with deep sorrow and regret that I convey the news of the passing of Michael D. Max, FN05, ECWG’s Program Director for the past six years. He died of cancer on Sunday, May 31, 2020, days after celebrating his 78th birthday. Michael had a broad background including geology, geophysics, chemistry, acoustics, and information technology. He had received a B.Sc . (History, Geology) from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, an M.Sc. (Petroleum & Economic Geology) from the University of Wyoming, and a Ph.D. (Geology) from Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.

Michael worked as a geologist/geophysicist for the Geological Survey of Ireland, for which he carried out detailed scientific mapping and established a nearshore exploratory unit involving scientific diving. Then he was at the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC, working on shallow water acoustic propagation prediction. This is where I first met him. He also worked at the NATO’s Undersea Research Center in La Spezia, Italy where he conducted at-sea experiments and designed and carried out operational technology applications involving major research vessels.

Last year he regaled our Chapter with a presentation describing aeromagnetic surveys he conducted around Antarctica. From 1999 to 2011 he was CEO and Head of Research for Marine Desalination Systems LLC, a small innovative R&D company which established a hydrate research laboratory and explored industrial applications of hydrate chemistry as a government contractor under DARPA and ONR. At the time of his death, he was a principle and an active member of Hydrate Energy International, which is a consulting company specializing in unconventional natural gas, particularly natural gas hydrate (www.hydrate-energy.com).

Michael authored many scientific publications and three textbooks, a number of map sheets, and several GIS/relational database operational geographic digital maps. He assisted in the writing of the U.S. Gas Hydrate Research and Development Act of 2000. Michael was appointed by the Secretary of Energy to the Methane Hydrate Advisory Committee of the Department of Energy for 2014–2018, and was Co-Chair, Diving Committee of the Marine Technology Society. He was an Adjunct Professor in the School of Geological Sciences of University College, Dublin, Ireland, at which he was currently supervising a Post-Doctoral research student. Michael was involved with over 40 patents and patent applications.

Michael’s membership’s included the: Geological Society of America, Geological Society of London, American Geophysical Union, American Chemical Society, Explorers Club (Program Director, ECWG), Marine Technology Society (Vice-Chair and Co-Chair Diving Committee), Coast Guard Auxiliary (Vessel Inspector), Acoustical Society of America, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and American Association for the Advancement of Science, amongst others. He is survived by his wife, Eleanor, and daughter, Rachel, a graduate student in Hamburg, Germany. Services will be private.

Bruce F. Molnia, Ph.D.

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