For more than 50 years, Ben Giles has been an all-around, all-purpose geophysicist excelling in many disciplines and pursuing multiple careers. He is at home in field data acquisition as well as in seismic data processing and interpretation. After graduating from North Texas University with a degree in mathematics, he joined Geophysical Service Inc. In 1948 as a first computer on a seismic crew (at a time when a computer was a person not a machine). During his 33 years with GSI, he rose through the ranks and became chief geophysicist for the Western Hemisphere and then chief geophysicist for worldwide marine operations. He worked for ARCO for several years as a senior geophysicist responsible for solving problems in difficult areas. He joined Digicon in 1980 to become chief geophysicist and director of research. In recent years, he has worked as a consultant on special exploration problems in various places in the world. Ben's work, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, with air-gun technology: the design of tuned air-gun arrays to minimize bubble oscillations, to increase bandwidth of the air-gun pulse, and to increase data resolution with depth. His efforts to educate the geophysical industry through technical papers, seminars, and presentations at both local and international conferences provided the framework from which the industry accelerated the switch from using explosive sources for offshore seismic work to using the environmentally friendly air gun. In the middle 1960s, Ben, in collaboration with Roy Johnston, conducted many studies and experiments with a pneumatic acoustical device which, when used as a marine seismic source, was called an air gun. Ben presented a landmark paper at the EAEG meeting in 1967 (and published in Geophysical Prospecting in 1968) which dealt with pneumatic acoustical energy sources (air guns) as an alternative to dynamite. He introduced the idea of designing a source with a frequency spectrum which was tailored to fit the requirements of a specific area. Ben's contribution neither began nor ended with air-gun development. He was also part of a core group that helped the geophysical industry move from analog to digital systems. He carried out innovative work in several aspects of signal processing. In 1965, he coauthored a paper (with Schneider and Prince) titled "A new data processing technique for multiple attenuation exploiting differential normal moveout" about a method for attenuating multiple reflections. Ben was also a leader in the introduction of 3-D technology in both land and marine seismic surveys. He gave several presentations in the early 1970s which represent some of the first 3-D case histories. With coauthors Marion Bone and Ed Tegland, he presented a paper at the 1975 SEG Annual Meeting on the idea of using horizontal slices through a cube of 3-D seismic data as a new way to interpret the information. Ben freely contributed his talents to many professional activities. He was a prolific generator of technical papers on air-gun systems, on 3-D seismic applications (particularly focused around marine exploration), and on various aspects of other marine data acquisition. He served SEG as Vice-President of the SEG Executive Committee (1977-78), Associate Editor of Interpretation (1971) for Geophysics, and a member of the Technical Standards Committee for several years. He served as president of the Dallas Geophysical Society (which has named him an Honorary Member).
Honours and Awards
B. F. Giles received Reginald Fessenden Award in 1998
- Bone, M. R., B. F. Giles, and E. R. Tegland (1983), Analysis of seismic data using horizontal cross-sections, Geophysics 48(9):1172.