J. Clarence Karcher Award (1999)
Kenneth H. Matson is being honored with the J. Clarence Karcher Award for his exceptional work on the very difficult problem of attenuating both free-surface and internal multiples, noises that seriously contaminate seismic data in many marine settings. In his outstanding Ph.D. thesis, he developed inverse-scattering multiple-suppression algorithms for multicomponent ocean-bottom and onshore data by extending previous algorithms designed for marine streamers. This significant advance, which treats the reference medium as elastic rather than acoustic, requires no velocity or structural information below the level of the sources and detectors.
Contributed by Arthur B. Weglein
It is a pleasure to write this citation for Kenneth H. Matson for the SEG’s J. Clarence Karcher Award. This award recognizes his technical contributions in the area of inverse scattering multiple attenuation.
Ken obtained a bachelor’s in geophysics from the University of Alberta. After graduation, he worked for Mobil Oil Canada, where he gained an appreciation for the technical challenges in exploration. These experiences sparked Ken’s interest in geophysical research and he went on to pursue a doctorate at the University of British Columbia with Professor Tad Ulrych. I met Ken at Schlumberger Cambridge Research in 1994-95, where I served as his thesis coadvisor. Paulo M. Carvalho and Fernanda A. Gasparotto, who immediately preceded Ken among my Ph.D. students, helped pioneer concepts and methodology (in their theses) for the general inverse-scattering theory for attenuating free-surface and internal multiples, respectively, for marine streamer data. That theory produced algorithms that attenuate all multiples from a multidimensional heterogeneous earth, with absolutely no subsurface information, no velocity or structural information, nor interpretive intervention nor iteration. Ken further developed and generalized that earlier body of work, allowing the application for multicomponent ocean-bottom and onshore data. This required a nontrivial generalization of the marine streamer case: Ken provided an elegant and accessible solution in his thesis.
After graduation, Ken joined our seismic processing research group at ARCO (with Dennis Corrigan, Chi Young, Dan Miller, and Simon Shaw) working on the development, implementation, and application of inverse-scattering multiple attenuation. He developed a version of the free-surface algorithm applicable to 3-D marine streamer data and was a member of the team that produced the first production-strength 2-D internal multiple algorithm—a first in the seismic industry. Others on that team were ChiYoung, Dennis Corrigan and Paulo Carvalho; Paulo was at ARCO for a year working on a joint Petrobras-ARCO research project. Ken eventually became the leader of the group that was responsible for the company-wide application of these techniques which have had a positive impact on reaching our E & P objectives. Ken also played a central role when a joint research relationship was established with the group of Professor Berkhout at Delft University.
He has given several outstanding SEG presentations and has written papers that have helped explicate and illustrate these new and difficult concepts for the geophysical community. His strengths range from theory, to algorithm development, to issues of computational efficiency and seismic interpretation.
It is a personal delight to work with Ken: He is humorous, highly energized, creative, and open-minded. He has a quality that he seems to have incorporated from Tad Ulrych and Dennis Corrigan; Ken has a very nutritious positive influence on those around him, helping bring out their very best and enabling them to reach their full potential.
Although he has an extremely impressive list of contributions to date, I have full confidence that the best is yet to come. I am looking forward to the opportunity of working with Ken on new challenging and impactful problems in the future.