Parameter Estimation

by George Zamora

SOCORRO, N.M., February 14, 2005 – Three New Mexico Tech professors are the authors of two graduate-level textbooks which were recently published by Elsevier, an internationally renowned, multiple-media publisher of scientific, technical and health information products and services.

Richard Aster, professor of geophysics, and Brian Borchers, professor of mathematics at the state-supported research university, are the co-authors of Parameter Estimation and Inverse Problems.

Elsevier describes the 320-page treatise as a hardbound textbook that covers fundamental and practical issues associated with parameter fitting and inverse problems, including basic theory of inverse problems, statistical issues, computational issues, and an understanding of how to analyze the success and limitations of solutions to these mathematical problems.

“These sorts of problems commonly arise in many areas of geophysics, for instance in studying the structure of the very deep Earth using seismology,” Aster said.

Clifford Thurber, a geophysics professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, joins Aster and Borchers as the third co-author of the book.

New Mexico Tech geochemistry professor Kent Condie also is the author of the newly published book Earth as an Evolving Planetary System, a paperbound text that presents a comprehensive overview of the key topics and questions relating to the evolution of the Earth’s crust and mantle over the past four billion years.

The textbook by Aster, Borchers, and Thurber is described by Elsevier as a practical resource for general students and professional researchers, in which techniques and concepts can be picked out on a chapter-by-chapter basis.

Parameter Estimation and Inverse Problems is structured around a geophysics and mathematics graduate course, Geophysics 529/Math 519, which has been co-taught by Aster and Borchers at New Mexico Tech for the past five years. The book is designed to be accessible to university graduate students in the physical sciences who may not have an extensive background in advanced mathematics.

The new textbook is accompanied by a New Mexico Tech website ( containing computer code that corresponds to all the examples included in the text, as well as other resources for teachers and students.

Elsevier describes Condie’s latest book as a synthesis of current data from the fields of oceanography, geophysics, planetology, and geochemistry.

The volume emphasizes the interactive nature of various components of the Earth on time scales of tens to hundreds of millions of years, and how these interactions have affected the history of the atmosphere, oceans, and biosphere.

Condie has taught at New Mexico Tech since 1970. One of his previously published textbooks, Plate Tectonics and Crustal Evolution, Fourth Edition, is considered a seminal work among Earth sciences textbooks, and is widely used in advanced undergraduate and graduate-level courses in plate tectonics at universities throughout the world.

Condie also is the author of Mantle Plumes and Their Record in Earth History and Archean Greenstone Belts, as well as the co-author of a beginning textbook in geology, Origin and Evolution of the Earth: Principles of Historical Geology. In addition, he also is the author of an interactive CD-ROM tutorial, Plate Tectonics and How the Earth Works, and is the editor of two books, Proterozoic Crustal Evolution and Archean Crustal Evolution.