Gary Margrave - 2011

CSEG Honorary Membership Award Citation for Gary Margrave
by Hugh Geiger

Gary MargraveThis year the CSEG bestows the award of Honorary Membership on Professor Gary Margrave of the University of Calgary. Gary has made distinguished contributions to the field of exploration geophysics through his work on Gabor deconvolution, seismic migration and imaging, mathematical wave propagation, and most recently full-waveform inversion. Gary is currently the Director of the CREWES Project in exploration seismology and co-leader of the POTSI interdisciplinary research project in mathematics of seismic imaging. Gary served as the Site Director at the University of Calgary for PIMS (Pacific Institute of Mathematical Sciences) and has organized a number of PIMS workshops, meetings, and summer schools to promote collaboration between mathematicians and exploration seismologists and to provide high level training for graduate students and geophysicists from industry.

Gary has a B.Sc. in Physics and M.Sc. in Theoretical Physics from the University of Utah and in 1981 obtained his Ph.D. in Geophysics from the University of Alberta. Since joining the University of Calgary in 1995, Gary has supervised more than 40 MSc, PhD and Post Doctoral Fellows, published more than 40 refereed journal papers, 8 CSEG Recorder articles, 160 extended abstracts, and approximately 240 CREWES research report papers. He has received best paper awards at the 2002 and 2005 CSEG National Conventions and an award for CSEG Best Luncheon Speaker in 2003.

Among his many contributions, Gary is a consummate educator whose courses in seismic processing, imaging, and inversion are renowned for their clarity and mathematical rigor. Gary created and maintains a geophysical software library in MATLAB that serves as an invaluable tool for teaching and research. He has published two textbooks on seismic processing and imaging and regularly teaches a CSEG Doodletrain course on the fundamentals of seismic data processing. His influence on the Calgary geophysics community is widespread, and includes a legacy of former students and industry scientists whose careers and contributions have been shaped by Gary's thorough approach to geophysics. These contributions have played a strong role in developing and maintaining the Calgary geoscience community at a high level of international competitiveness as innovative providers of geophysical services.

Throughout his career, Gary has passionately pursued an interest in the mathematical aspects of exploration seismology. Prior to joining the CREWES project in 1995, Gary spent 15 years working for Chevron in the US and Canada, where he rose to the position of Senior Staff Geophysicist, received the Presidents Award for innovation in technology, and worked on the first 3D seismic processing by Chevron in Canada. During his career with Chevron, Gary worked with Vern Herbert, who in the late 1970's developed computational algorithms for seismic imaging closely related to the well-known phase shift and phase-shift plus interpolation (Gazdag, 1978; Gazdag and Sguazzero, 1984). Gary thought there must be a mathematical expression of Herbert's algorithm and tells the following story (in Gary's own words):

Finally, I had an "aha" moment and realized that I could write down the Fourier integral that Vern's migration method approached in its most accurate limit. This was perhaps 5 years before leaving Chevron. I also realized that essentially same integral, written as a frequency transform instead of a wave number transform could accomplish a nonstationary deconvolution. To amuse myself, I developed such a beast while still at Chevron and this was essentially an ancestor of Gabor deconvolution. Still, I was bothered by my training in classical physics where I was taught that the Fourier transform could only solve constant coefficient PDE's. Yet, here was a Fourier integral that, while not an exact solution, was much better than anything else I knew of.

When I came to the University of Calgary, I was on a quest to find out if this mathematics was known. I was fairly certain that it must be but it did take several years of presentations to the math department until someone recognized that I was doing Fourier integral operators. I now know that that theory was introduced into mathematics in 1984 by Hormander (he is very famous for it) and I think it is quite delightful that Vern Herbert was applying the theory in 1979, 5 years before it was discovered!

For those of us who have had the great fortune to work with Gary, the above anecdote captures much of the essence of his love for science: a pursuit driven by curiosity with a focus on rigor, communication and collaboration – all with a dose of humility and good humor! Gary likes to call the seismic inverse problem a 'grand challenge' problem of science in that it will likely take advances from many fields and absorb all we can throw at it for generations. We look forward to Gary's future endeavors!

For his many distinguished contributions both to the geophysical sciences and to the professional community, Gary is most deserving of Honorary Membership in the CSEG.