George Jiracek

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George Jiracek
George R. Jiracek headshot.png

Scott Baldridge and George Jiracek were honored with Special Commendation for their exceptional efforts in developing and leading the SAGE program (Summer of Applied Geophysical Experience). Over the past 17 years, SAGE has provided hundreds of graduate and undergraduate students with practical field training in exploration geophysics. This invaluable education fostered by Scott and George as codirectors has greatly benefited our profession by providing hands-on field experiences and intellectual stimulation for the exploration geophysicists of tomorrow.

Citation for SEG Special Commendation

Contributed by Charles F. Keller

SAGE, Summer of Applied Geophysical Experience, has proven to be just that for many students and some faculty every year for the past 17 summers. This innovative summer exercise combines faculty teaching, guest lectures, field trips, observational field work, and research in the use of integrated exploration geophysics techniques to understand the nature of the subsurface to depths of several kilometers in and around the Rio Grande Rift at its juncture with the Colorado Plateau and the North American Craton. This project is unique in that 25-30 students from universities in many countries participate in an entire encapsulated research program which combines all aspects of exploration geophysics field work with theory and computer data reduction to final report writing. This program was honored in 1998 by the American Geophysical Union which gave SAGE its Award for Excellence in Geophysical Education “to acknowledge a sustained commitment to excellence in geophysical education.” Codirectors Scott Baldridge and George Jiracek have been crucial in providing the stability and growth of SAGE with its complicated fund raising, communicating, student interactions, logistics, trouble shooting, report writing, organization of faculty and planning, and the myriad of other details necessary to make a good project outstanding. Perhaps Scott’s most important attribute is vision for what SAGE can accomplish through its students. Anyone he talks to catches his enthusiasm for both the opportunities for education and research, and it’s not long before Scott has many of them agreeing to come to the next SAGE to give lectures and work with the students. His vision for SAGE, which started as a pure research study of rift structure, has extended it to the applied and contemporary areas of waterresource characterization and remote sensing of toxic waste George’s strength is dealing with high-level people from NSF and SEG to Chevron. He has the uncanny ability to make these people so enthusiastic about SAGE that they want to provide support. George also is superb at bringing sometimes disparate people together in a frictionless fashion.

Together Scott and George are the kind of team that we’d like to see more of but seldom do. Don’t talk with them, you’ll find yourself volunteering to be part of SAGE!

Scott received his AB in geology from Hamilton College. Following a two-year stint at Universität Göttingen, he went to the California Institute of Technology where he received his PhD in geology in 1968. Scott was a research assistant in MIT’s Department of Earth and Planetary Science from 1969 to 1972, and a postdoctoral fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1978 to 1980. He then joined the Los Alamos staff, a relationship continuing to the present. In 1984 Scott spent a year at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem as a Visiting Associate Professor, and has received two Fulbright Scholarships to study abroad. Scott is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America.

Although Scott is a staff member at a national research laboratory, he has been involved in several graduate student theses and dissertations. He has also worked tirelessly to both characterize the complex structure of the southwest United States and interpret it to others. He has developed annotated geologic field trips that he leads and has written a book on the subject. Scott is also a member of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, a branch of the University of California’s multicampus research unit.

George Jiracek, received his BS in physics from the University of Wisconsin in 1963, and his Ph. D. in engineering physics from the University of California-Berkeley in 1972. He has been a member of the San Diego State University faculty since 1980 and a full professor since 1994. His many awards include the Congressional Antarctic Service Medal, Fulbright Senior Scholar Research Award, San Diego State’s Outstanding Faculty Award, and (with the rest of the SAGE faculty) AGU’s Excellence in Geophysical Education Award