William H. Dragoset is being honored with Life Membership for his significant contributions to SEG and the science of geophysics. Bill has served as a workshop organizer, on the Executive Committee, on THE LEADING EDGE Editorial Board, as Publications Committee Chair, and on the Research Committee. In addition, he has produced a number of technical publications on ocean-bottom sensors, multiples, and marine acquisition, including a “Best Paper” honorable mention. Bill’s most recent contribution was a comprehensive historical review that appeared in the 2005 special publication which appeared during SEG’s 75th anniversary celebration.
Biography Citation for SEG Life Membership
Contributed by Ken Larner
Perhaps Bill Dragoset should be honored with several Life Memberships, his contributions to the Society and to the science of exploration geophysics are so many and varied.
Indicators of Bill’s great intellectual capacity go back to high school days, when he was named one of five co-winners of the Alabama Mathematical Talent Search, and continue through college, when he was awarded the Comer Medal as Outstanding Graduate in the Physical Sciences, at Auburn University, and further on into graduate school where, in 1978, he received the H. A. Wilson Award for Most Outstanding PhD Dissertation in the Rice University Physics Department. What a boon it was for research within Western Geophysical Company and for the geophysics community, when, in 1979, Bill left the world of pion-nucleus forward scattering at delta (3,3) energies for the real-world Earth laboratory of exploration geophysics.
Well before he reached this, his 27th year with Western Geophysical (now WesternGeco), through his solid, innovative, theory-based applied science, Bill became recognized both within and outside the company as the heart and personification of breakthrough research within WGC. Rightly so, in 2004 he was promoted to Scientific Advisor, Schlumberger/WesternGeco, the highest scientific position within the corporation. Prior to that, in reverse chronological order, he was Geophysical Adviser, Research Program Manager – Acquisition Geophysics R&D, Senior Scientist, Senior Research Geophysicist, and, initially, mere phenomenal Research Geophysicist.
Over the years at WGC, Bill has been asked to tackle the widest range of challenging technological problems, and invariably the approach and outcome have been innovative, differing from the expected. Areas that succumbed to his thoughtful and penetrating investigations include air-gun characteristics, smoothing and interpolation, lost lane counts in radio navigation, cable location and estimation of ship position, cell grid distortion in 3D surveys, signature deconvolution, surface and internal multiple attenuation, Doppler effects with marine vibrators, and adaptive noise cancellation. In addition to his many written papers and oral presentations, he has authored and co-authored 14 patents for WGC, with two more pending. A source of his success in tackling difficult scientific problems is the relish with which Bill leaps to taking on challenging puzzles and games. Members of Western’s research group in the early 1980s fondly recall the mental and manipulative puzzles that Bill solved and posed during holiday parties, over deli food and much imported beer.
I have long considered Bill to be far and away the best writer of technical material within WGC. Whenever he would bring a draft paper to me for review, it was as if I were being given a gift. His ideas and arguments were solidly founded and organized, in superb English prose, and his papers already wonderfully edited. What a blessing he has been for SEG serving, superlatively of course, on the TLE Editorial Board, and as Associate Editor for Geophysics, editor for seven special sections of TLE, editor of a geophysical monograph on seismic data acquisition, and co-editor of a geophysics reprint volume on multiple attenuation. The energy and devotion he has shown in such endeavors includes his two years as chairman of the SEG Publications Committee, out of which SEG produced five major new publications. No wonder he was invited to author his “historical reflection on reflections” in the commemorative “SEG @ 75” volume this past year. It’s no surprise either that his communication skills extend to his thoughtfully prepared oral presentations, always with clarity for the audience in mind; witness his OTC Best Presentation Award in 1988. For someone of such intellectual strength and wide-ranging scientific and society contribution, the characteristics “softspoken” and “unassuming” might seem almost out of context.
Not so for an individual of Bill’s character. Superimposed on these qualities is that of subtle humorist, a quality no doubt continuously nurtured at home by his wife, Mary, who is author of the most entertaining and eagerly awaited Christmas cards. In short, while Bill well would merit this or higher SEG award for any of several subsets of his contributions to the Society and geophysical community, he would well merit them for being good guy, with good wife, and good family.