Joseph Anthony (Joe) Dellinger was born in the SEG hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and learned to ride a bicycle in the Amoco Tulsa Research Center parking lot. Dellinger’s father Tom Dellinger led a research group at the Mobil Field Research Lab in the 1970’s-1980’s. His team coined the term “Extended Reach Drilling” to describe to management what it was they were doing. Given this background, it is not surprising that Dellinger majored in Geophysics at Texas A&M. In 1991, he received a PhD in geophysics from Stanford University under Jon Claerbout and Francis Muir at the Stanford Exploration Project. He then did a 3-year post-doc at the University of Hawaii before joining Amoco in Tulsa in 1994. He moved to BP in Houston in 1999 and has worked there since. In his career he has specialized in anisotropy, multi-component algorithms and processing, and most recently “looking for useful information in data that would normally be ignored”, i.e. “Forensic data processing”. This has included studying the 2006 “Green Canyon” earthquake, investigating how the Valhall Ocean-bottom-cable array might be used between seismic surveys, and characterizing sources and noise in deep water ocean-bottom-seismic Gulf of Mexico data so that we might process it better.
Dellinger was awarded Life Membership in the SEG in 2001 for his services in helping the SEG to successfully adapt to the internet age. He was selected as the SEG Distinguished Lecturer for Spring 2016.
SEG Honorary Membership
Joe Dellinger was awarded SEG Honorary Membership in 2016 for performing a number of unique services to SEG, the profession of applied geophysics, and the scientific community at large. Some of his services include:
- Being one of the first to create an active geophysical research eCommunity
- Helping to create Vplot, a key component in the concept of “reproducible research” and in the Madagascar open-source software with 25,000+ downloads
- Helping to start the SEG Online Governing Board — a committee that was critically important in helping establish the SEG’s online presence
- Creating the software and algorithms category in Geophysics in 2004 and serving as an associate editor ever since
- Publishing 50-plus papers with SEG from fundamentals of elastic wave propagation to multi-component analysis and passive imaging
- Discovering asteroids as an amateur astronomer and naming them after famous geophysicists
Biography Citation for Honorary Membership
Joe Dellinger is an icon in SEG — there’s no other way to put it. His contributions to our professional Society are numerous and diverse. Anyone who knows Joe would say the same in their own words.
I first met Joe when I joined the Stanford Exploration Project (SEP) in the fall of 1985. From day one, it was obvious that Joe was a unique individual — brilliant, deductive, observant, always helpful, and looking for ways to improve the science of geophysics, and science in general. As a grad student, he was a prolific innovator, but more importantly a prolific collaborator. He was never too interested in his own work to brush aside a request for help or just simple grad-student camaraderie. His willingness to help others with their work paid many dividends before Joe graduated from Stanford. Some of the work that he was instrumental in bringing both to life and to light ranged from elastic wave modeling to signal processing to computer graphics and software. Some of those early publications are definitive references to this day, such as his work in wavefield separation in anisotropic media. I still hear from anisotropy researchers that marvel at the “spaceship” anisotropic wavefront figures in his thesis. He edits the most demanding category of Geophysics, the software and algorithms section. His Vplot graphics still form the core of many university seismic graphics programs.
Joe was so supportive of everyone at the Stanford Exploration Project that it took him seven years to get his PhD. Jon Claerbout testified to that effect at the commencement exercises in June 1991, saying: “Joe, you were the most useful grad student that SEP ever had.” Industry was in tough times then, so Joe took a postdoctoral position at the University of Hawaii. Before the Internet had really taken off, Hawaii was a bit remote. But due to Joe’s desire to stay connected, he began to think about how the Internet was going to change our world. Shortly after Joe left Hawaii and joined Amoco, I remember Joe describing how to “sort” all the stuff on the Internet. He drew on a chalkboard what later turned out to be the PageRank Algorithm. We both agreed it was cool and would work better than what was out there at the time. He asked me if he should patent it, but he decided that surely someone else had thought of it already.
Even though he missed being an Internet phenomenon, his understanding of how to use electronic media served SEG well. Joe helped form the nascent online governing board, which was instrumental in getting SEG on the Internet in those early days. While encouraging SEG to see things his way wasn’t always easy, Joe’s efforts and those of other enthusiastic members and SEG staff turned our Society into a leading and effective voice for geophysics in the digital age.
Joe has been at the epicenter of many of the trends and advances in our science and our Society. One entertaining moment that I recall was an SEG presentation Joe gave about vector fidelity (another topic upon which Joe helped “write the book”). Joe illustrated in very simple and compelling terms why a certain ocean-bottom cable had an anomalous response using carrots, cookies, and bananas. It was the only geophysical experiment I’ve heard described that the conclusion of the presentation was “ … and yes, when the experiment was over, we ate the equipment.” Of course, that brought down the house. The unfortunate speaker that had to follow Joe remarked upon taking the podium that he never wanted to have to follow Joe’s presentation again. Joe is a tough act to follow, but he’s much happier when you take the stage with him.
Dellinger was the SEG Distinguished Lecturer for Spring 2016. The title of his lecture was: Forensic data processing - Revealing your data's hidden stories. Below is the abstract, biography, and schedule for Dellinger's 2016 Distinguished Lecturer tour.
We are asking for more and more from our seismic data: more efficient acquisition, broader bandwidth (both high and low), sources that are more environmentally friendly (i.e. quieter), accurate amplitudes for AVO and 4D. Acquisition and processing are undergoing a revolution to support these needs. New developments such as simultaneous sources, ghost-free sources, broader-bandwidth sources, continuous recording, and new kinds of sensors are already in use, and well on the way to becoming routine. It is a good time to take a step back and investigate what really goes into our data. What does that string of numbers you are using to make your images really mean? What units is it in? Is your source actually doing what your modeling predicts? How repeatable is it? What noise is hiding in your data that you don't know about? If you knew about it, what might you do differently to take advantage of newly available sensors and processing techniques? I will examine ocean-bottom seismic data because it's by far the cleanest data we've got, and hence the most amenable to careful analysis. However, this "forensic" approach to data analysis should have broader applicability.
The talk will have three parts:
- What is your source really doing?
- What does the background noise in the data look like?
- Can we do anything useful with that background noise?
The goal of the talk is to start you on the way to becoming a data connoisseur, instead of merely an indiscriminate consumer. The talk will be example-driven for a broad audience, however I will also have tutorial sections that I can include for academic audiences wanting to dig deeper with a longer talk.
Joe Dellinger was born in the SEG hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and learned to ride a bicycle in the Amoco Tulsa Research Center parking lot. Joe’s father Tom Dellinger led a research group at the Mobil Field Research Lab in the 1970’s-1980’s. His team coined the term “Extended Reach Drilling” to describe to management what it was they were doing. Given this background, it is not surprising that Joe majored in Geophysics at Texas A&M. He received a PhD in 1991 from Jon Claerbout’s Stanford Exploration Project. He then did a 3-year post-doc at the University of Hawaii before joining Amoco in Tulsa in 1994. He moved to BP in Houston in 1999 and has worked there since. In his career he has specialized in Anisotropy, multi-component algorithms and processing, and most recently “looking for useful information in data that would normally be ignored”, i.e. “Forensic data processing”. This has included studying the 2006 “Green Canyon” earthquake, investigating how the Valhall Ocean-bottom-cable array might be used between seismic surveys, and characterizing sources and noise in deep water ocean-bottom-seismic Gulf of Mexico data so that we might process it better.
Joe was awarded life membership in the SEG in 2001 for his services in helping the SEG to successfully adapt to the internet age. Joe’s hobbies include attending the Houston Symphony, photographing birds, recording frog calls in the swamps around Houston, and astronomy at the George Observatory, which is located an hour’s drive southwest of Houston. Asteroid “78392 Dellinger” was named in Joe’s honor. Other asteroids named for famous geophysicists include FrancisMuir, KenLarner, and Svenders 
|19 January||Houston, Texas, USA||GSH - West Side Technical Luncheon|
|20 January||Houston, Texas, USA||GSH - Downtown Technical Luncheon|
|21 January||Houston, Texas, USA||GSH - North Side Technical Luncheon|
|22 January||Houston, Texas, USA||SEG Wavelets, University of Houston|
|28 January||Sunbury, UK||BP Sunbury|
|29 January||Crawley, UK||CGG Crawley|
|1 February||Delhi, India||SPG India - Delhi|
|3 February||Vadodara, India||SPG India - Vadodara|
|5 February||Gandhinagar, India||Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University Geophysical Society|
|5 February||Ahmedabad, India||SPG India - Ahmedabad|
|7 February||Muscat, Oman||Sultan Qaboos University Geophysical Society|
|8 February||Muscat, Oman||Petroleum Development of Oman (PDO)|
|9 February||Abu Dhabi, UAE||Emirates Society of Geoscience (ESG)|
|9 February||Abu Dhabi, UAE||Petroleum Institute|
|10 February||Al Ayn, UAE||UAE University Geophysical Society|
|14 February||Cairo, Egypt||Egyptian Geophysical Society|
|7 March||Beijing, China||CNOOC Research Center|
|8 March||Yanjiao, China||China Academy of Sciences (COSL)|
|9 March||Beijing, China||China Univ of Petroleum|
|11 March||Nanjing, China||SEG South China Section|
|14 March||Singapore||CGG Singapore|
|15 March||Jakarta, Indonesia||Indonesian Petroleum Association (IPA)|
|16 March||Jakarta, Indonesia||SEAPEX|
|18 March||Perth, Australia||Univ of Western Australia|
|18 March||Perth, Australia||ASEG WA|
|1 April||Austin, Texas, USA||University of Texas at Austin|
|11 April||Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA||Geophysical Society of Oklahoma City|
|11 April||Norman, Oklahoma, USA||University of Oklahoma SEG Student Chapter|
|12 April||Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA||Geophysical Society of Tulsa|
|12 April||Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA||OSU Geophysical Society|
|14 April||Denver, Colorado, USA||Denver Geophysical Society|
|14 April||Golden, Colorado, USA||Colorado School of Mines|
|21 April||Dallas, Texas, USA||Dallas Geophysical Society|
|22 April||Richardson, Texas, USA||University of Texas at Dallas|
|25 April||Calgary, AB, Canada||Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists|
|26 April||Berkeley, California, USA||Bay Area Geophysical Society|
|27 April||Stanford, Calilfornia, USA||Stanford University SEG Student Chapter|
|4 May||Midland, Texas, USA||Permian Basin Geophysical Society|
SEG Life Membership
Joe Dellinger was awarded the 2001 SEG Life Membership for his untiring efforts and advice in launching the SEG Web site, setting up electronic publishing standards, and electronic submission of papers to GEOPHYSICS and the annual SEG Technical Program Expanded Abstracts.
Honorable Mention (Geophysics)
- Dellinger, J., et al. (2009) The 10 February 2006 “Green Canyon” earthquake: A case history of an unusual seismic event, SEG Technical Program Expanded Abstracts 28:572-6.
- SEG Honors and Awards Ceremony, SEG Dallas 18 October 2016, Omni Dallas Hotel, Dallas Ballroom, International Exposition and Eighty-Sixth Annual Meeting, Dallas, Tx, p, 28.
- Spring 2016 SEG Distinguished Lecturer
- Gray, S. H., et al. (2001) Seismic migration problems and solutions, GEOPHYSICS 66(5):1622.