Ronald Ward

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Ronald Ward
Ronald W. Ward headshot.png
Membership Honorary Member

Ronald W. Ward (1944-2003) is receiving SEG Honorary Membership posthumously for a lifetime of broad, selfless, energetic service to the geophysical community and to SEG. During his career, Ron was general chairman of SEG's International Exposition and 68th Annual Meeting in 1998, was chairman of the Technical Program Committee for SEG's 1992 Annual Meeting, organized many postconvention workshops, was an Associate Editor of GEOPHYSICS, and actively served on SEG's Interpretation and Research committees, the National Petroleum Council, and the Gas Research Institute. Over the course of his rich career, Ron Ward exemplified the ideal civil scientist, collaborating with colleagues on seminal developments in areas such as depth imaging, seismic modeling, 3D AVO analysis, and petrophysical integration; mentoring young geophysicists both in industry and academia; and championing the advancement of the science and its application to exploration geophysics through insightful and inclusive technical discussion.

Biography Citation for SEG Honorary Membership

Contributed by Bob Keys

Ron Ward was born in Burbank, California, U.S. on 20 September 1944 but spent most of his childhood in Ada, Oklahoma. He had a keen interest and aptitude for mathematics and science, and he pursued these interests at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he received a bachelor's degree in applied mathematics in 1966, and a master's and PhD in geophysics in 1971. He returned to Oklahoma in 1971 to begin his career as a geophysicist at the Amoco Production Company research lab in Tulsa. There, his collaboration with Ken Kelly, Sven Treitel, and Rusty Alford led to a classic paper on the use of the finite difference method to model elastic wave propagation.

In 1974, he accepted a position as an associate professor in geosciences at the University of Texas at Dallas where he developed more than a dozen graduate and undergraduate courses in signal processing, modeling, exploration, and solid earth seismology. His research included seismic mapping of geothermal resources and crustal studies with COCORP. He became director of the Center for Lithospheric Studies at UTD in 1977.

Ron returned to industry in 1982 to help initiate the research program at a newly formed Geophysical Research group of Standard Oil Production Company. At Standard, he managed a technical staff of 23 and coordinated a much larger effort to develop and demonstrate the methodology to identify sand reservoirs in the Gulf of Mexico. Following the merger of Standard with BP, Ron moved to Houston where he remained with BP until 1988. He also held senior technical positions with Louisiana Land and Exploration Company, Burlington Resources, and Geophysical Development Corporation.

Ron was an active contributor to the geophysical community. He served as an associate editor for GEOPHYSICS, and he was chairman of the Seismic Technical Advisory Group for the Gas Research Institute. Ron served as chairman of the Technical Program Committee for SEG's 1992 International Meeting of the SEG in New Orleans. When the International SEG Meeting returned to New Orleans in 1998, Ron was the General Chairman.

For more than 30 years, Ron engaged in the development and application of technology to find and exploit oil and gas resources. He published 19 technical papers in refereed journals, presented over 60 papers at technical meetings, and conducted numerous research projects. But his most important legacy is the students, colleagues, and friends that he touched over his career. Ron passed away on 2 November 2003 in Houston, Texas.