Daniel Patrick Hampson

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Daniel Patrick Hampson
Daniel Patrick Hampson headshot.png
Latest company Hampson Russell
BSc Physics
MSc Physics
BSc university Loyola College (Montreal)
MSc university McMaster University

Daniel Patrick Hampson is co-founder with Brian Russell of the geophysical software company Hampson and Russell. Hampson and Russell received the 1997 Cecil Green Enterprise Award.

Biography Citation for the Cecil H. Green Enterprise Award 1997

Contributed by Rob Stewart

The name "Enterprise Award" immediately conjures up wonderful images of spacecraft, dynamic explorers, entrepreneurs, and new worlds. Dan Hampson, the 1996 recipient, has enthusiastically created many new technical marvels and new business worlds. The award recognizes a major contribution to the economic vitality of our industry from an individual who has demonstrated courage, ingenuity, achievement, and many productive contributions. Dan Hampson is a worthy recipient.

Dan has a long history of contributions to applied geophysics. He began his technical career with a B.Sc. in physics (1971) from Loyola College in Montreal. An M.Sc. in physics followed from McMaster University in Hamilton in 1973. After graduation, he showed his interest in service as well as teaching by joining the foreign aid organization CUSO (the Canadian University Service Overseas) where he taught high school math and physics in Ghana, West Africa, for two years. Dan's industry and academic experience was complemented by an MBA from the University of Calgary in 1993.

Dan has seen a number of sides of the resource industry in his geophysical career; they include positions with Veritas Seismic, Phillips Petroleum in Houston, and Veritas Software in Calgary. Many of us, over the years, have been impressed with Dan's abilities, especially his concentration and "unflappability." I remember working with Dan at Veritas Software when we were frantically trying to finish SEG talks, finalize contracts, complete programming tasks, and prepare documentation, etc. While people ran around the office, phones rang, paging announcements interrupted, Dan was sitting in his office, with the door open, smiling away and programming a Radon transform. I poked my head in and asked how he could focus in the midst of all the bedlam. He thought for a moment and said, "I think it helps to have kids."

Some months later, in an effort to bring only the most recent research to the CSEG convention, Dan was still having slides developed the day before his talk. But due to delays, the slides wouldn't be ready until the very morning of the talk. It turned out that colleague Brian Russell was the session chairman and I was in the audience. Dan's talk was at 9 a.m. We didn't see him at the speakers' breakfast, the first talk at 8:30, and for some minutes afterward. In desperation, I went to the front door of the convention center to look for him. At 8:55, I saw him get out of a van driven by the graphic artist who had made his slides. Dan had loaded his slide carousel in the van. I took him from the front door to the theater hall and gave his slides to the projectionist. Dan walked directly to the podium at 9 and gave a flawless talk.

Dan is an exceedingly bright and dedicated individual, who has very effectively applied these talents to geophysics. He has published papers on maximum-likelihood deconvolution, wavelet extraction, multiple analysis, and rejection, VSP, velocity analysis, inverse theory, and refraction statics. Attesting to the value of his work is that most of these algorithms have become very useful industry products.

In fact, it is these algorithms and products that led to the founding of Hampson-Russell Software Services Ltd. in 1987. I remember a discussion about the company name. There was a suggestion that it was too long. But Dan said he wanted personal names in the company title to always remind him that their work was directly associated with Brian and him and they were personally responsible for it. I'm sure that partly because of this philosophy, the Hampson-Russell effort has been enormously successful in technical, financial, and productivity terms. They have grown from a group of four people with some fledgling software (but unbounded enthusiasm) to a company of 27 employees with offices in Calgary, Houston, Hong Kong, and London. Their software products include AVO, seismic inversion, 3-D refraction statics, and geostatistical packages and are licensed to hundreds of companies around the world along with dozens of universities. True to his early days in education, Dan and company donate their software to universities for modest administration fees only. This has provided a very important set of tools to young geophysicists. Also profoundly inspiring is that Dan not only is president of the company with all of the attendant financial and managerial duties, but still writes a significant proportion of the code that goes into their packages. Their software packages have found such use that they have now started a consulting business using their software to directly deal with geophysical projects.

In addition to all of this technical and financial work (and playing a very good classical piano), Dan has actively served in our professional societies. Along with giving many talks, courses, and papers, he has been the editor of the Canadian Journal of Exploration Geophysics, Technical and general chairman of the CSEG National Convention, first vice president and current president of the CSEG.

Dan is a good friend, a gentleman, an interested scholar, an excellent and clear speaker, a business and managerial whiz, and a superb geophysicist.

Reginald Fessenden Award 2006

SEG is honoring Daniel P. Hampson with the Reginald Fessenden Award for his invention of the parabolic Radon transform. In his original 1986 CSEG paper, Daniel P. Hampson proposed a parabolic approximation to a transform developed by Jeff Thorson at Stanford. This new form of the transform, which became known as the parabolic Radon transform, provided an approximation that is linear in the frequency domain and highly practical for computer coding. Initial applications related to robust multiple suppression required no knowledge of the multiple-generating mechanism and no detailed knowledge of the primary and multiple velocities. After its publication, the algorithm was implemented by virtually all the processing companies in the world. This work has been widely cited and has led in the longer term to a number of developments specifically in the field of Radon transforms and more generally in seismic signal processing. This algorithm facilitates the application of linear velocity inversion methods.

Biography Citation for the Reginald Fessenden Award

Contributed by Brian Russell

I feel privileged to have been asked by Dan Hampson to write his citation for the Reginald Fessenden Award. As an observer of Dan’s mathematical insight for almost a quarter century, I can think of no one else for whom the award is more richly deserved. Although Dan is receiving this award for his invention of the parabolic Radon transform, he is really getting it for a lifetime of innovation in exploration seismology.

Dan grew up in Montreal, where his mathematical talent was recognized early when he was offered a scholarship to Loyola High School. The rigorous education he received from his Jesuit teachers at Loyola instilled in Dan a logical and clear way of thinking that has always guided his scientific and business pursuits. Dan then attended Loyola College and received a BSc in physics, and McMaster University where he received a MSc in physics. Following this, he spent two years in Ghana teaching high school physics with Canadian University Services Overseas (CUSO), an experience that led to Dan’s lifelong love of both teaching and travel.

When Dan returned to Canada, he first thought of returning to university to continue his studies in physics. However, a friend had recently moved to Calgary and told him of the many opportunities in seismic data processing for a person with his background. In 1976 Dan headed west and joined Veritas Seismic, then a fledgling company of roughly 25 employees. Luckily for the seismic industry, Dan knew nothing about the subject and had to learn it from scratch. He soon realized that his physics and mathematical skills could be used to refine many of the techniques he was discovering. But first he had to pay his dues as a processor and he did so with both Veritas and Phillips Petroleum in Houston, before returning to Veritas as manager of Research. Dan’s task was simply stated yet incredibly challenging: Develop new seismic processing algorithms that would give Veritas a competitive edge in the Calgary market. The problems to work on were also clear: statics and multiples.

Dan first attacked the statics problem by developing the GLI (generalized linear inverse) approach to the determination of refraction statics, a method that is still used successfully around the world. He then turned his attention to multiples, first developing an adaptive method that was a modification of earlier work. When this approach proved to be nonrobust, Dan noticed the work by Jeff Thorson and Jon Claerbout on a hyperbolic stacking approach to multiple attenuation. He recognized how much faster the method would be if the hyperbolas were changed to parabolas and the transform was done in the frequency domain. The result, implemented on a VAX computer, was called INVEST, an acronym for inverse velocity stacking. Only later, through the work of Geoffrey Beylkin which was done independently and at roughly the same time, would this be called the parabolic Radon transform. Dan’s paper on the subject has been widely quoted, and his algorithm implemented by every processing company in the world.

Dan has continued to produce innovative ideas and most recently conceived and wrote a new algorithm for the simultaneous inversion of prestack seismic data. In between creating algorithms he also found the time to help build a successful software company, for which he received the SEG Enterprise Award in 1996, and to complete his MBA at the University of Calgary. But it is for Dan’s advancement of the science of geophysics that he is being justly awarded the Reginald Fessenden Award. Congratulations, Dan!

Honorable Mention (Geophysics) 2001

Daniel P. Hampson, James S. Schuelke, and John A. Quirein received Honorable Mention (Geophysics) for their paper Use of multiattribute transforms to predict log properties from seismic data.[1]


  1. Hampson, D. P., J. S. Schuelke, and J. A. Quirein (2001) Use of multiattribute transforms to predict log properties from seismic data, GEOPHYSICS 66(1):220.

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