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Nicholas Makris

Contact Info

room 5-212

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

77 Massachusetts Avenue

Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139

Administrative Contact Fox, Geoffrey 5-204 617.253.9344


  • 1983


  • 1991



Honors + Awards

  • William I. Koch Professor of Marine Technology
  • Bose Fellow 2016
  • Chief Scientist of Nordic Seas Ecosystem-Scale Fish Shoal and Marine Mammal
    Behavioral Dynamics Experiment, Joint ONR and Institute of Marine
    Research Norway January 2012-2014
  • Chief Scientist Exploring New Ground Fish Survey Methods in the Gulf of
    Maine, for Massachusetts State Fall 2011-2012
  • Chief Scientist of Joint ONR, Mexican Navy, US Department of Homeland
    Security, NOAA Seagrant, Experiment Series: Hurricane Quantification with
    Natural Undersea Sound, Isla Socorro, Mexico. March 2008-2011
  • Chief Scientist of National Oceanographic Partnership Program Ocean
    Acoustic Waveguide Remote Sensing (OAWRS) Fish Group Behavior and
    Population Assessment Experiment on Georges Bank and Gulf of Maine Fall
    2006. Sept-Oct 2006
  • NASA Group Achievement Award to Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter Science Definition Team April 2005
  • Chief Scientist of ONR Acoustic Clutter (Geoclutter) Program and Experiment
    including OAWRS Fisheries Demonstration Mid-Atlantic Bight April-May 2003
  • Chief Scientist of ONR Acoustic Clutter (Geoclutter) Reconnaissance
    Experiment, Mid-Atlantic Bight, April -May 2001
  • Doherty Professor of Ocean Utilization July 2000
  • Edgerly Fellow March 2000
  • Secretary of the Navy/Chief of Naval Operations
    Scholar of Oceanographic Sciences 1999-2003
  • Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America Dec. 1997
  • ONR Young Investigator May 1996
  • Alan Berman Outstanding Publication Award, NRL 1996
  • A. B. Wood Medal, Institute of Acoustics, UK 1995
  • Chief Scientist NRL Beach Noise Imaging Experiment, Camp Pendleton, CA
    June 1995
  • Navy Special Act Award Feb. 1994
  • Elected by University and Government Panel to Design, Select Sites and Direct Main Acoustics Experiment of the Decade Long ONR Special Research Program on Seafloor Reverberation, Mid-Atlantic Ridge. 1992-1993


  • Current Classes
  • 2.066/2.065    Acoustics and Sensing      
  • 2.003    Modeling, Dynamics and Control I
  • 2.031     Dynamics II


  • Journal Publications
  • (** indicated papers with Makris’ students)
  • **Wenjun Zhang, Yuming Liu, Purnima Ratilal, Byung-gu Cho, and Nicholas C. Makris, "Active Nonlinear Acoustic Sensing of an Object with Sum or Difference Frequency Fields", Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 954; doi:10.3390/rs9090954.
  • **D. Wang, H.Garcia, W. Huang, D.D. Tran, A.D. Jain, D. H. Yi, Z. Gong, J. M. Jech, O. R. Godø, N. C. Makris, & P. Ratilal, "Vast assembly of vocal marine mammals from diverse species on fish spawning ground", Nature, doi:10.1038/nature 16960, 02 March 2016.
  • **Ankita D. Jain and Nicholas C. Makris, “Maximum Likelihood Deconvolution of Beamformed Images with Signal-Dependent Speckle Fluctuations from Gaussian Random Fields: With Application to Ocean Acoustic Waveguide Remote Sensing (OAWRS),”Remote Sens. 2016, 8 (9), 694 (2016);
  • **Dong Hoon Yi and Nicholas C. Makris,"Feasibility of Acoustic Remote Sensing of Large Herring Shoals and Seafloor by Baleen Whales”Remote Sens. 2016, 8 (9), 693 (2016)
  • **Hadi T. Nia, Ankita D. Jain, Yuming Liu, M. Reza Alam, Roman Barnas and Nicholas C. Makris, "The evolution of air resonance power efficiency in the violin and its ancestors", Proceedings of the Royal Society A, February, 2015.
  • **Z. Gong, P. Ratilal, N.C. Makris, "Simultaneous localization of multiple broadband non-impulsive acoustic sources in an ocean waveguide using the array invariant." J. Acoust. Soc.
    Am. 138(5):2649-2667 2015
  •  **Z. Gong, A. D. Jain, D. D. Tran, D. H. Yi, F. Wu, A. Zorn, P. Ratilal, and N. C. Makris, “Ecosystem scale acoustic sensing reveals humpback whale behavior synchronous with herring spawning processes and re-evaluation finds sonar had no effect on humpback song occurrence in the Gulf of Maine in Fall 2006,” PLoS ONE, 9(10): e104733. Doi:10.137/journal.pone.0104733, (2014)
  •  **D. D. Tran, W. Huang, A. Bohn, D. Wang, Z. Gong, N. C. Makris, and P. Ratilal, “Using a coherent hydrophone array for observing sperm whale range, classification, and shallow-water dive profiles,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 135, 3352-3363, (2014).
  •  **A. Jain, A. Ignisca, D.H. Yi, P. Ratilal, N. C. Makris, “Feasibility of Ocean Acoustic Waveguide Remote Sensing (OAWRS) of Atlantic Cod with Seafloor Scattering Limitations,” Remote Sensing 6, 180-208 (2013).
  • **Z. Gong, T. Chen, P. Ratilal, and N.C. Makris, “Temporal coherence of the acoustic field forward propagated through a continental shelf with random internal waves,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 134, 3476-3485 (2013)
  •  **S. Jagannathan, Elizabeth T. Kusel, Purnima Ratilal and N. C. Makris, “Scattering from extended targets in range-dependent fluctuating ocean-waveguides with clutter from theory and experiments,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 132 (2), 680-693, August 2012.
  • **Nicholas Makris, “Unidentified floating objects: New sonar imagery reveals mysterious echos to be enormous schools of fish,” IEEE Spectrum (feature paper), August 2011.
  • **N.C. Makris and I. Bertsatos, "Resolving Lambertian surface orientation from fluctuating radiance", J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 130, 1222, 2011.
  • ** S. Jagannathan, B.K. Horn, P. Ratilal, N.C. Makris, "Force estimation and prediction from time-varying density images", IEEE Trans Pattern Anal Mach Intell. 2011 June 33(6) 1132-46. (highlighted paper)
  • **I. Bertsatos and Nicholas Makris, “Estimating the Instantaneous Velocity of Randomly Moving Target Swarms in a Stratified Ocean Waveguide by Doppler Analysis,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 130, 84, 2011.
  • **I. Bertsatos, M. Zanolin, T.R. Chen, P. Ratilal, N.C. Makris, “General second order covariance of Gaussian Maximum Likelihood Estimate applied to passive source localization in a fluctuatingocean waveguide,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 128, 2635-2651 (2010).
  • **M. Zanolin, S. Vitale, N. C. Makris, “Asymptotic expansions of Maximum Likelihood Estimators, with an application to gravitational waves generated in the inspiral phase of binary mergers,” Phys. Rev. D 81, 124048 (2010) [16 pages] .
  • ** Nicholas Makris, Srinivasan Jagannathan and Anamaria Ignisca, "Ocean Acoustic Waveguide Remote Sensing: Visualizing Life Around Seamounts," Oceanography, vol 23, 2010. (Invited)
  • **I. Bertsatos and N. C. Makris, “Statistical biases and errors inherent in photoclinometric surface slope estimation with natural light,” Icarus 208, 798-810 (2010).
  • **Z. Gong, M. Andrews, S. Jagannathan, R. Patel, J. M. Jech, N. C. Makris, P. Ratilal, “Low-frequency target strength and abundance of shoaling Atlantic herring Clupea harengus in the Gulf of Maine during the Ocean Acoustic Waveguide Remote Sensing (OAWRS) 2006 Experiment” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 127, 104-123 (2010).
  •  **Nicholas C. Makris, Purnima Ratilal, Srinivasan Jagannathan, Zheng Gong, Mark Andrews, Ioannis Bertsatos, Olav Rune Godoe, Redwood W. Nero, J. Michael Jech, "Critical Population Density Triggers Rapid Formation of Vast Oceanic Fish Shoals", Science, Vol. 323, No. 5922, 1734-1737 (March 27, 2009).
  •  **S. Jagannathan, I. Bertsatos, D. Symonds, T. Chen, H. T. Nia, A. Jain, M. Andrews, Z. Gong, R. Nero, L. Ngor, M. Jech, O. R. Godø, S. Lee, P. Ratilal, Nicholas Makris, “Ocean Acoustics Waveguide Remote Sensing (OAWRS) of marine ecosystems,” Marine Ecology Progress Series, Vol. 395, 137-160 (2009). (Invited Paper)
  • ** T. Chen, P. Ratilal, N. C. Makris, "Temporal coherence after multiple forward scattering through random three-dimensional inhomogeneities in an ocean waveguide," J. Acoust. Soc. Am.124, 2812-2822 (2008)
  • **J. D. Wilson and N. C. Makris, "Quantifying hurricane destructive power, wind speed, and air-sea material exchange with natural undersea sound," Geophysical Research Letters 35, L10603 1-5 (2008)
  • **M. Betke, D. E. Hirsh, N. C. Makris, G. F. McCracken, M. Procopio, N. I. Hristov, S. Tang, A. Bagchi, J. Reichard, J. Horn, S. Crampton, C. J. Cleveland, and T. H. Kunz,"Thermal Imaging Reveals Significantly Smaller Brazilian Free-tailed Bat Colonies than Previously Estimated." Journal of Mammalogy, 89(1):18-24, February 2008
  • **A. Galinde, N. Donabed, S. Lee, N. C. Makris, and P. Ratilal, "Range-dependent waveguide scattering model calibrated for bottom reverberation in continental shelf environments" J. Acoust. Soc. Am 123, 1270-1281 (2008)
  • ** N.C. Makris, P. Ratilal, D. Symonds, S. Jagannathan, S. Lee, R. Nero, “Fish population and behavior revealed by instantaneous continental-shelf-scale imaging,” Science, Volume 311, 660-663 (February 3, 2006).
  • **J. D. Wilson and N.C. Makris, “Ocean Acoustic Hurricane Classification,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 119, 168-181 (2006).
  • **S. Lee and N.C. Makris, “The array invariant,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 119, 336-351 (2006).
  • **P. Ratilal and N.C. Makris, “Mean and covariance of the forward field propagated through a stratified ocean waveguide with three-dimensional inhomogeneities,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 118, 3560-3574 (2005).
  • **T.R. Chen, P. Ratilal and N.C. Makris, “Mean and variance of the forward field propagated through three-dimensional random internal waves in a continental-shelf waveguide,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 118, 3532-3559 (2005).
  • **S. Lee, B. Pappalardo, N.C. Makris, “Mechanics of tidally induced fractures in Europa's ice shell,” Icarus 177, 367-379 (2005).
  • **Ratilal et al and N.C. Makris, “Long range remote imaging of the continental shelf environment: The Acoustic Clutter Reconnaissance Experiment 2001 Experiment,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 117, 1977-1998 (2005).
  • **M. Zanolin, I. Ingram, A. Thode, N. C. Makris, “Asymptotic accuracy of geoacoustic inversions” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 116, 2031-2042 (2004)
  • **S. Lee, M. Zanolin, A. Thode, R. Pappalardo, N.C. Makris, “Probing Europa’s Interior with Natural Sound Sources,” Icarus 165, 144-167 (2003)
  • **Yisan Lai and N. C. Makris, “Spectral and modal formulations for the Doppler-shifted field scattered from an object moving in a stratified medium,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 113, 223-244 (2003).
  • **A. Thode, E. Naftali, I. Ingram, P. Ratilal and N. C. Makris, “Necessary conditions for a maximum likelihood estimate to become asymptotically unbiased and attain the Cramer-Rao lower bound Part II: Range and depth localization of a sound source in an ocean waveguide,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 112, 1890-1910 (2002).
  • **P. Ratilal, Y. Lai and N. C. Makris, “Validity of the sonar equation and Babinet’s principle for scattering in a stratified medium,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 112, 1797-1816 (2002).
  • **P. Ratilal and N. C. Makris, “Extinction theorem for object scattering in a stratified medium,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 110, 2924-2945 (2001).
  • **E. Naftali and N. C. Makris, “Necessary conditions for a maximum likelihood estimate to become asymptotically unbiased and attain the Cramer-Rao lower bound, Part I: General approach with an application to time-delay and Doppler shift estimation,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am.110, 1917-1930 (2001).
  •  M. Betke and N. C. Makris, “Recognition, resolution and complexity of objects subject to affine transformation,” International Journal of Computer Vision 44, 5-40 (2001).
  • **N. C. Makris and P. Ratilal, “A unified model for reverberation and submerged object scattering in a stratified ocean waveguide,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 109, 909-941 (2001).
  • **C. S. Chia, L., N. C. Makris and T. Fialkowski, “A comparison of bi-static scattering from two geologically distinct abyssal hills,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 108, 2053-2070 (2000)
  • **N. C. Makris, C. S. Chia, L. T. Fialkowski, “The bi-azimuthal scattering distribution of an abyssal hill,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 106, 2491-2512 (1999)
  •  N. C. Makris, “A spectral approach to 3-D object scattering in stratified media applied to scattering from submerged spheres,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 104, 2105-2113 (1998).
  • N. C. Makris, “The effect of saturated transmission scintillation on ocean-acoustic intensity measurements,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 100, 769-783 (1996).
  • N. C. Makris, “Parameter resolution bounds that depend on sample size,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 99, 2851-2861 (1996).
  • N. C. Makris, “A foundation for logarithmic measures of fluctuating intensity in pattern recognition,” Optics Letters 20, 2012-2014 (1995).
  • N. C. Makris, L. Avelino, R. Menis, “Deterministic reverberation from ocean ridges,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 97, 3547-3574 (1995). (Also appears in full in a special volume commemorating ONR's 50th Anniversary.)
  • N. C. Makris, F. Ingenito and W. A. Kuperman, “Detection of a submerged object insonified by surface noise in an ocean waveguide,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 96, 1703-1724 (1994).
  • M. D. Collins, N. C. Makris and L. T. Fialkowski, “Noise-cancellation and source localization,”J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 96, 1773-1776 (1994).
  • N. C. Makris and J. M. Berkson, “Long-range backscatter from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 95, 1865-1881 (1994).
  • N. C. Makris, “Imaging ocean-basin reverberation via inversion,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 94, 983-993 (1993).
  • M. D. Collins, J. M. Berkson, W. A. Kuperman, N. C. Makris, and J. S. Perkins, “Applications of optimal time-domain beamforming,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 93, 1851-1865 (1993).
  • N. C. Makris and I. Dyer, “Environmental correlates of arctic ice edge noise,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 90, 3288-3298 (1990).
  • N. C. Makris and I. Dyer, “Environmental correlates of pack ice noise,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 79, 1434-1440 (1986).
  • Select Refereed Conference Proceedings
  • M. Betke and N.C. Makris, “Fast object recognition in noisy images using simulated annealing,” Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Computer Vision, MIT, Cambridge MA (June, 1995).
  • N. C. Makris, “A statistical foundation for logarithmic intensity measures in ocean acoustics,” in Proceedings of the Third European Conference on Underwater Acoustics, edited by J. Papadakis, European Commission, Brussels (1996).
  • N. C. Makris, "A foundation for logarithmic measures of fluctuating intensity in ocean-acoustics," A.B. Wood Memorial Lecture, Proceedingsof the Institute of Acoustics 15, Nottingham, UK (1996).
  • N. C. Makris, "Statistical ocean-acoustics in shallow water," Proceedings of the First International Conference on Shallow Water Acoustics, Beijing China ( 1997).
  • N. C. Makris, “The Statistics of Ocean-Acoustic Ambient Noise,” in Sea Surface Sound '97, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht (1997).
  • N. C. Makris, "Estimating surface orientation from sonar images," in High Frequency Acoustics in Shallow Water, Kluwer, Dordrecht (1997)
  • Betke and N.C. Makris, “Information-Conserving Object Recognition,” Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Computer Vision, Bombay, India (Jan. 1998).
  • ** M. Betke, E. Naftali and N. C. Makris, “Necessary Conditions to Attain Performance Bounds on Structure and Motion Estimates of Rigid Objects,” Proceedings of the IEEE Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Conference CVPR 2001, Kauau, Hawaii (December 2001).
  • **M. Betke, D.E. Hirsh, A. Bagchi, N.I. Hristov, N.C. Makris, and T.H. Kunz. "Tracking Large Variable Numbers of Objects in Clutter." Proceedings of the IEEE Computer Society Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, Minneapolis, MN, (June 2007)