William Shriever

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William Shriever
William Shriever headshot.png
Membership Honorary Member
BSc Physics
MSc Physics
PhD Physics
BSc university University of Iowa
MSc university University of Iowa
PhD university University of Iowa


Contributed by E. A. Eckhardt

William Schriever (1895-1959) was unable to attend the meeting of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists at which the society conferred Honorary Membership upon him. He died on November 20th, 1958, at the age of 64 after a protracted illness, being survived by his wife, a son and a daughter. The Sooner state was the locale for his life's work and he was a "Sooner" in the field of American exploration geophysics. He was preparing students for entry into this field of professional activity when this was being done at few, if any, other educational institutions. Through his teaching activities, the University of Oklahoma has contributed a substantial segment to the membership of SEG and many of his students have become prominent in geophysical exploration. For about thirty years Doctor Schriever was recognized as the top educator in the field of geophysics in the state of Oklahoma.

Like most of his contemporaries in the earliest years of geophysical exploration in America, Doctor Schriever was trained as a physicist. He was awarded his Ph.D. degree in physics at the University of Iowa in 1921. His subsequent professional life was spent entirely at the University of Oklahoma.

As a part of his activities in education Doctor Shriever himself and together with his students engaged in a substantial program of research, a great deal of which dealt with the physical properties of earth materials and techniques for measuring them. His last paper was published in GEOPHYSICS only one month before he died.

The success and loyalty of the students he has taught are often the greatest rewards a teacher can enjoy. In these respects Doctor Schriever was exceptionally well rewarded. In him, his students, the society and the profession have lost an active force in development of their potential, a source of inspiration and a friend.

Biography Citation for SEG Honorary Membership

Contributed by E. V. McCollum

The fourteenth Honorary Membership of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists is being awarded to Dr. William Schriever in recognition of his scholarly contributions in teaching, research, and scientific papers devoted to geophysics and allied fields.

Education and Career

  • Dr. Schriever received his BSc. degree with a major in physics from Morningside College, Sioux City, Iowa, in 1916.
  • He was awarded a scholarship in physics at the State University of Iowa and received his MSc. degree in 1917.
  • During World War I, he served in the Signal Corps collaborating in the development of inter-airplane radio telephone communication.
  • In the fall of 1919, Dr. Schriever became Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of Oklahoma.
  • During 1920-21, he resumed his studies at Iowa and was awarded the Ph.D. degree.
  • He returned to Oklahoma that fall and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1924 and to Professor in 1927. He has continued in teaching and research in the field of physics since that time.
  • He served as Chairman of the Department of Physics from 1942 to 1952 and was Director of the Engineering School of Physics from 1942 to 1948.
  • At the University of Oklahoma he has conducted fundamental research problems in geophysics which have led to publication of 39 scientific papers, a number of which have appeared in Geophysics.


Dr. Schriever holds membership in:

  • Society of Exploration Geophysicists,
  • American Geophysical Union,
  • American Association of Physics,
  • Sigma Xi,
  • Gamma Alpha,
  • Sigma Pi Sigma,
  • Sigma Gamma Epsilon,
  • He is also a fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Our present international situation demands that we produce superior scientists in greater numbers. One of the prime requisites of such a program is outstanding teachers. Several hundred former students of Dr. Schriever, who are now members of SEG, will attest to his scholarly, dedicated, practical, and inspirational manner of teaching. He has, therefore, made a distinguished contribution to the world of science by the character of his teaching, his original research, and his writings.


Geophysics, (1960) vol XXV n.2 p.543-544. doi: 10.1190/gpysa7.1960.25.issue-2