Terry Young

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Terry Young
Terry Young 2015 headshot.jpg
Latest company Colorado School of Mines
President year 2006-2007
Membership Life
BSc English
MSc Geophysical Engineering
PhD Geophysics
BSc university Stanford University
MSc university Colorado School of Mines
PhD university Colorado School of Mines

Terence K. Young is an American Geophysicist and was the 2006-2007 SEG President. He is a Professor Emeritus and Former Head of the Geophysics Department at the Colorado School of Mines. [1]

Biography Citation for SEG Life Membership 2015

by Roel Snieder and Ken Larner

The Honors and Awards Committee unanimously recommends awarding Life Membership to Terry Young. Terry has made tremendous contributions to our Society by serving as President of the SEG Executive Committee and many other committees over a decade.

Terry Young’s career can largely be characterized by three qualities: breadth, leadership, and a desire to serve. Although the award highlights Terry’s contributions to the Society and its members by serving as SEG President and on numerous committees for over a decade, since 2000, primary beneficiaries of these and other such contributions have been students in the Colorado School of Mines Geophysics Department.

As an unlikely prelude to the profession of exploration geophysics, Terry started his academic training with a B.A. degree in English from Stanford University. He then spent five years in the U. S. Navy in which, after training as a carrier pilot, he served as a flight instructor. Following this, he established his career in geophysics by first obtaining M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Colorado School of Mines, and then teaching there as assistant professor, emphasizing rock mechanics and fracture mapping.

After two years of research in VSP with CGG in Denver, Terry moved up through research with Mobil R&D in Dallas in 1983 through 2000, serving there as manager of geophysical research before becoming exploration team leader/strategic planner for Mobil North Sea Limited in London, England, and Aberdeen, Scotland.

In addition to seismic imaging and computer simulation of wave propagation, his emphasis on geostatistical applications in geophysical and stochastic modeling of risk and uncertainty drew him in 1989 through 1999 to the Statistics Department at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he worked as visiting scholar on statistical imaging for functional magnetic resonance imaging. In 2000, Terry returned to CSM, where he has since served as head of the Geophysics Department. Based on his many contributions as an SEG member since 2001, he was elected SEG President, serving in 2006–2007, and he continued in active leadership until 2011.

In all stages in his career, Terry has advanced to positions of leadership, teaching wherever the opportunity arose. Always, his mind-set has been to serve others, whether it was SEG, the CSM Geophysics Department, or the students that he cares for so much. In his role of department head, Terry goes out of his way to make sure that “his” faculty members thrive. He does this in many ways, for example, by being a sturdy spokesperson for the geophysics program to the CSM administration, by encouraging new initiatives for growth in his people, by actively mentoring junior faculty members, and by teaching much more than his share so that others have more opportunities for pursuing research.

Terry spends much time with students, in one-on-one conversations, exit interviews, and personal advising and in his classes and the geophysics field camp that he is so passionate about. He advises a large number of students and has often been instrumental in supporting students in their academic and personal development in ways that go far beyond the normal care of the academic advisor.

The care that Terry shows for those around him is grounded in his faith, which for Terry is very much focused on serving others. At the bottom of his e-mail messages, he quotes the line “Lead me to the rock that is higher than I” from the 61st Psalm. For Terry, this “higher rock” is more than a better understanding or greater insight; it is a desire to be an ever better person.

In all his roles, whether for SEG, for the CSM Geophysics Department, or for those around him, Terry has always been a selfless leader whose energy was directed not to the promotion of his own career or personal goals. Rather, being of service to others has been a leitmotiv in his endeavors. In that service, he is much more than a beneficial presence; he is a great example for his colleagues and for generations of students.

Biography for SEG Presidental Candidacy 2005

Terry Young has worked for a service company, a major oil company (both in research and in operations), and a university.

Early Years, Education, and Professional Career

After earning an undergraduate degree in English from Stanford University, Young served as a pilot in the U.S. Navy. He earned both an MSc in geophysical engineering and a PhD in geophysics from Colorado School of Mines, and then taught for three years on the geophysics faculty at Mines before going into industry. Young spent 18 years in industry, first at CGG, then Mobil R&D, and later at Mobil North Sea Ltd, both in London and Aberdeen. In his last assignment with Mobil, Young worked on a research team at Carnegie Mellon University doing both geophysical and medical imaging. In 2000, Young returned to Colorado School of Mines, where he is currently professor and head of the Department of Geophysics.

SEG Service

Young was elected secretary-treasurer of SEG for 2001-2002. He chaired SEG s Finance Committee in 2001-2002, and continued as a member in 2002- 2004. During his term as secretary-treasurer, Young served as liaison between the Executive Committee and the Steering Committee for SEG s 2002 Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City. For the 2002 Annual Meeting he also chaired the Applied Science Education Program that featured oceanographer Robert Ballard. Young has been a member of SEG s Research Committee and has helped organize and chair technical sessions at previous annual meetings. He is currently serving as general chairman for SEG s 2004 Annual Meeting in Denver.

Position Statement for Election to President

The geophysics profession has seen significant changes in the last two decades. Lines between geo-disciplines have blurred. Emphasis in the petroleum sector has shifted from exploration to production geophysics.

Opportunities have arisen for geophysics to impact such diverse areas as water, precision agriculture, alternative energy, subsurface construction, utility infrastructure monitoring, toxic waste disposal, geohazard mitigation, climate change, and planetary exploration. Meanwhile, the population of geophysicists has dwindled. The number of students now pursuing degrees in the geosciences is one-third the number two decades ago. As a large demographic segment advances toward retirement, a potential shortage of geophysicists looms on the horizon.

What are the implications of these changes for SEG? First, as our membership becomes increasingly international, the focus of the Society (meetings, publications, services) should also be more international. Second, to take advantage of broader opportunities to impact our profession, SEG should foster multidisciplinary cooperation through joint meetings and publications with other professional societies. Third, we need to expand our appeal to a broader cross-section of young people who will become the geophysicists of tomorrow.


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