Sheldon Breiner

Sheldon Breiner is a Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur, inventor and a geophysicist specializing in exploration for resources, cultural research on and in the earth. As a typical Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur, Breiner uses New Ventures West, a sole proprietorship, as his personal business incubator to conceive and launch high-tech start-ups. He is co-founder & Executive Chairman of Potential Energy, LLC of providing services and data products for direct detection of hydrocarbons from aircraft over land and from deep-towed sensors offshore to identify and map oil fields and to determine drill locations for shale gas/oil.

As Breiner’s first startup experience, he was the founder and CEO of Geometrics one of the major worldwide airborne geophysical contractors and principal manufacturer of geophysical instruments for airborne, marine and land exploration; co-founder and CEO of PML, developer of thru-casing resistivity technology for oil-behind-pipe (licensed to Schlumberger and sold to Baker Hughes); founder and CEO of Syntelligence, Quorum Software and Solis Therapeutics. He was a Director of ESP, Inc., an environmental software company acquired by IHS, a public company for the energy and environmental industries.

He was on the Board of Directors of SEAM, the leading-edge technical nonprofit company owned by the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG). Breiner was recently the Moderator of the Executive Forum, the official kickoff session for the technical program of the International Meeting of the SEG.

Much of Breiner’s career involves remote sensing for mineral and cultural resources through airborne, oceanographic and land based geophysical surveying and search. As a former consultant to various branches of the US government, he has been involved with detection of submarines, mines, tunnels, nuclear weapons and other ordnance. For example, he was involved the search for two sunken U.S. submarines and a Soviet submarine in the Pacific and, at the request of the White House, he conceived and demonstrated, in 1968, the gun detector now the world standard for security at airports and buildings. He has written and/or presented several hundred technical papers and the industry-standard reference on the use of magnetometers for geophysics, military and archeological purposes with a million copies in print and, now online.

Using magnetics, he has been involved with many archaeological projects including such published examples as the discovery in southern Italy of the ancient, buried Greek city of Sybaris and one hundred colossal, carved stone monuments buried for 3,000 years in the jungles of Mexico, the latter earning him the 'Best Presentation Award' at the International Meeting of Society of Exploration Geophysicists. Breiner is the technical leader of a team that has used a magnetometer to discover offshore Mexico a Spanish galleon, the San Felipe, sank in 1576, soon to be displayed in a museum in Ensenada, Mexico.

His first published technical paper (Jour Geoph. Res.) was the recording in 1962 of the magnetic effects of the ‘Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP)’ from a 1.4 million ton hydrogen bomb 250 miles high & 4,000 miles away, a military experiment which led, via the ARPAnet, to the creation of the Internet. For conducting many such searches as described herein, Breiner was recipient in 2014 of the “Lowell Thomas Award” presented by The Explorers Club for ‘Imaginative Exploration’ over five decades all over the globe.

His geophysics graduate. research resulted in the first quantitative method (based on Euler’s Theorem) for using a magnetometer for oil exploration from aircraft and ships for mapping of structures which might contain oil/gas deposits, a concept he then patented. This project was the stimulus to his being the first to use high-resolution optically-pumped magnetometers for geophysics. His Ph.D. involved earthquake prediction on the San Andreas fault in California and in Japan, by measuring piezomagnetic effects.

Breiner has a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D., all in Geophysics, from Stanford University. He has run ten marathons, enjoys skiing, hiking, photography and has traveled extensively to over one hundred countries.  he is married with grown children and resides near Palo Alto, California.