Robert Broding

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Robert Broding
Robert A. Broding headshot.png

Biography Citation for the Reginald Fessenden Medal

Contributed by Ben F. Rummerfield

Robert A. (Bob) Broding was born in Foley, Minnesota and attended high school there. He attended the University of Minnesota, where he obtained his E.E. degree in 1939. During these college years he also worked as a radio operator at WBI and KSTP, Minneapolis. He has had additional schooling at St. John's University and Southern Methodist University.

Bob has always exhibited an inquisitive mind, particularly in the field of electronics, as applied to mineral and petroleum exploration. He has published more than twenty-three technical papers and has fifteen patents in his name.

Bob well qualifies as a genius based upon the definition, "An intelligent man who has imagination and inventiveness and who will work harder than anyone else." Upon leaving college he went to work for Mobil on a field crew and later was transferred to their geophysical laboratory. During World War II he was a part of the Naval Ordnance Research Laboratory, working on special projects. He then returned to Mobil's laboratory under the supervision and inspiration of Dr. D. H. Clewell, Bob and his research group developed magnetic logging devices. One of this group's major accomplishments was of the continuous velocity logging (CVL) system that formed the basis for all sonic logging as now used in the petroleum industry. Although Bob and his group developed the CVL for primarily geophysical application, it soon became apparent that it had an even more important application in production logging. For his part in the development of the CVL, Bob is today receiving the SEG Medal Award.

Bob's imagination and sense of adventure led him to join Century Geophysical Corporation, so that he could see how a small business operated. During this ten year period he served as vice-president of research and development. Among other ventures his R&D group reflected the dynamic leadership he provided them by developing the first electrophotographic oscillograph recorder that is now used in most field seismic trucks. He was instrumental in developing services such as SRS, digitizing of well logs, research programs for ARPA, and the instrumentation for uranium exploration logging. This latter development allowed Century to obtain an eminent position in this field. The instrumentation, plus the radiometric conversion procedures developed, have been used to explore for, and to evaluate, a major portion of the uranium reserves of the United States.

Bob then joined Seismograph Service Company's research and development laboratory and helped develop analog and digital methods for Vibroseis; an electrostatis, printing, oscillographic recorder and the design of a marine Vibroseis system.

After five years he then returned to Amoco's research laboratories, where he is continuing to work on exploration problems.

Bob, and his lovely wife Kay, have enjoyed watching each of their three children enter specialized fields of endeavor. Betty, having a doctorate in chemistry, is teaching at Stanford; Carol entered nursing and Bruce emulates his father by completing his studies in E.E. at Oklahoma University.

Many technical societies have looked to Bob for active participation and direction. He has served on numerous committees and local offices of SEG and was president of the GST in 1968. He has also been active in the IEEE and has acted as chairman for several national meetings.

It is a stimulating and satisfying experience to work with Bob, for his intellectual capacities and capabilities, coupled with his inquiring mind and lively sense of humor, combine to provide an environment that is highly conducive to the inventing and developing of interesting and valuable exploration concepts, instrumentation and methods.

It is through the leadership, ethics, and contributions of men of the stature of Bob Broding that SEG continues to hold its place as the world's leading group of exploration geophysicists.