Gerald Gardner

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Gerald Gardner
Gerald Gardner headshot.png
Latest company Houston Advanced Research Center
Membership Honorary Member
MSc Applied Mathematics
PhD Mathematical Physics
BSc university Trinity College, Dublin
MSc university Carnegie-Mellon University
PhD university Princeton University

Gerald Gardner is an American geophysicist who has had a long and distinguished career, contributing many advances to the field of exploration geophysics.

SEG is honoring Gerry Gardner with the Maurice Ewing Medal for his major contributions as a scientist and educator in the field of exploration geophysics and for his service to the profession. For over 40 years, Gerry has developed and published fundamental theories that integrate seismic methods with petrophysics and reservoir recovery. Many of today’s DMO and migration algorithms can be traced to the physical modeling experiments conducted under his auspices, and much of today’s 3-D seismic technology has been built upon his research and prolific publication. Gerry has also served the Society as SEG Editor, Distinguished Lecturer, Chairman of the Publications Committee, Special Editor of two publications, and CE instructor.


Biography Citation for the Maurice Ewing Medal 1999

Contributed by Norman Neidell

Cecil Green and Hewitt Dix, the first two winners of the Maurice Ewing Medal, would be proud to have G. H. F. “Gerry” Gardner join their distinguished ranks. Gerry should also be comfortable in joining Bob Sheriff and Tom LaFehr, the two most recent recipients, for his outstanding contributions to the science and profession of geophysics. It is a special honor for me to once more write a citation for this distinguished contributor and good friend.

Gerry’s 14 years at Rice and the University of Houston produced students who have vastly increased his overall influence on the profession. This has been just one facet of his varied career, but it is an active and growing legacy beyond his other accomplishments, which are many.

When Gerry received SEG Honorary Membership in 1991, I wrote an appreciation that recapped much of his distinguished career. In reciting his credentials, it is appropriate to borrow from that writing.

Education

He graduated from Trinity College in Dublin with a first-class moderatorship and gold medal in mathematics and theoretical physics. His master’s degree in applied mathematics was granted by Carnegie-Mellon University in 1949 and his doctorate in mathematical physics by Princeton University in 1953. In 1950-55, he was an honorary scholar at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Dublin. Both the National Academy of Sciences and the United Nations have recognized the important role he played in technical liaison with the People’s Republic of China. The Geophysical Society of Houston awarded him Honorary Membership in 1989.


Professional Career

Teaching and achievement in industry have been intertwined themes throughout Gerry’s career. He first lectured in mathematics and engineering at Trinity College and Cornell. He then had a short assignment at the Bell Telephone Laboratories. After a further year teaching mathematics at Carnegie-Mellon University, Gerry spent 24 distinguished years at Gulf Research and Development in Pittsburgh. While working for Gulf Production’s research department (1956-80), he built scaled physical models to investigate (1) gravity segregation of fluids in reservoirs, (2) miscible displacement for tertiary recovery, and (3) underground combustion in reservoirs. He also built equipment to measure velocity and attenuation of sound in hundreds of core samples, which led to the now familiar relationship between density and velocity. This laboratory work led to his interest in scaled models for 3-D seismic research. He even found time to do some work on high-performance engines.

In 1980, Gerry Gardner started 10 remarkable years as a professor of electrical engineering and director of the Allied Geophysical Laboratories (AGL) at the University of Houston. At AGL he could teach, but also enjoy a close relationship with industrial associates. The leading-edge work of this institute—in no small measure due to Gerry’s guidance— in seismic technology from modeling to the theoretical 3-D algorithms is valued by all informed geophysicists. Afterward, Gerry became Keck Foundation Professor of Geophysics at Rice University. When he retired to Pennsylvania in 1994, he maintained links to research via the Houston Advanced Research Center.

Publications

His list of publications is long, even intimidating. Not only did he publish regularly, but during 1981-83 he also edited GEOPHYSICS—a particularly arduous and thankless task. In 1982-83 he edited TLEand gave it the important direction so widely appreciated today. In addition to Honorary Membership, SEG previously recognized Gerry for an outstanding presentation concerning 3-D methods (1977) and as a Distinguished Lecturer (1979-80). Halliburton selected him for its award for Excellence in Teaching in 1984.

Activism

Everyone is acutely aware of Gerry’s pioneering role in 3-D seismic and other technical matters relating to reservoirs and rock properties. He remains, however, the crusader of causes. In my last writing about him, I told of his legal challenge to newspaper employment advertisements segregated by sex—which he took all the way to U. S. Supreme Court victory in the early 1970s. Now he adds another accomplishment. Last year, Sun Coke Company (a subsidiary of SUNOCO) proposed to build a $350 million coke-making plant a quarter of a mile from his house on the site of the last, shuttered coke plant in Pittsburgh. At first it looked like a “done deal” with support from the union and the mayor. But little by little, the protests of the residents gained ground and last month Sun Coke announced a different site (in Ohio!). What Gerry had learned over the years in geophysics was critical in proving that the pollution from the new plant would have been the same as from the old plant although the company claimed their new process was “state-of-theart” and clean.

We as a profession are privileged to have Gerry in our ranks and it is an honor for me to call him friend and teacher. The Maurice Ewing Medal is a fitting tribute to this man of diverse interests and accomplishments. It would not be surprising to see still further awards forthcoming. Gerry is that kind of a man.

Biography Citation for SEG Honorary Membership 1991

Gerry Gardner always does first rate science and makes a contribution to the state-of-the-art. We as a profession should be pleased and even grateful that his interests turned from the purest of pure physics to the physics of hydrocarbon reservoirs and now to seismic methods for finding those reservoirs. As explorationists we have gained the company of a fine and personable intellectual comrade and a teacher of remarkable perception whose students freely attest to the great efforts he is willing to expend in order to share this knowledge.

Winning awards is nothing new for Gerry. In 1948 on graduating from Trinity College in Dublin he obtained a first class moderatorship and gold medal in mathematics and theoretical physics. His M.Sc in applied mathematics was granted by Carnegie - Mellon University in 1949 and his Ph.D in mathematical physics was granted by Princeton University in 1953. During the years 1950-1955 he was an Honorary Scholar at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Dublin. Both the National Academy of Sciences and the United Nations recognized the important role he played in technical liaison with the Peoples Republic of China. Then in 1989 the Geophysical Society of Houston awarded him Honorary Membership.

Teaching and achievement in industry both have been intertwined themes throughout Gerry's distinguished career. He first lectured in mathematics and engineering briefly at Trinity College and Cornell. He then had a short assignment at the Bell Telephone Laboratories. After a further year teaching mathematics at Carnegie - Mellon University, Gerry went on to spend 24 distinguished years at the Gulf Research and Development Co. in Pittsburgh. Here his work on reservoir properties on his own and in collaboration with others was years ahead of its time and is quoted with increasing frequency as the years pass. He even found time to do some work on high performance engines as well.

In 1980 Gerry Gardner began yet another remarkable 10 years as a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Director of the Allied Geophysical Laboratories (AGL) at the University of Houston. At AGL he could teach, but also enjoy a close relationship with industrial associates. The leading-edge work of this institute in no small measure under Gerry's guidance in seismic technology from modeling the theoretical 3-D algorithms is well known to all informed geophysicists. Most recently Gerry has joined Rice University as the Keck Foundation Professor of Geophysics. We look forward to his achievements again with anticipation.

The list of publications on Gerry Gardner's resume is long, even intimidating. Not only did Gerry publish his works, but during 1981-83 he also edited the journal Geophysics - a particularly arduous and thankless task. In 1982-83 he edited The Leading Edge and gave it the important direction which is so widely appreciated today.

Previously the SEO has recognized Gerry for his outstanding presentation concerning 3-D methods in 1977 and as a Distinguished Lecturer in 1979-80. Halliburton selected him for their award for Excellence in Teaching in 1984. It is fitting and timely that the SEO should again at this time recognize this exemplary

In the interest of making this exposition of Gerry's career more fully representative of him as a person, I asked Gerry to tell me what he regarded as his most significant accomplishment. At first he told me after some thought that perhaps it was his very early appreciation of the role of 3-D seismic data both for exploration and production applications - then he hesitatingly confided that his legal challenge of newspaper employment advertisements segregated by sex which he took all the way to a United States Supreme Court victory in the early 1970's was his proudest achievement. We honor ourselves as a society and as a profession when we recognize such humility and unselfish effort in the name of equity and justice.

All those with whom he has worked have learned to think laterally and to simplify complex questions by critical self-examination as he does. He certainly well deserves to join the elite ranks of SEO Honorary Membership. career.