Saturday, October 17, 2015

2015 SEG New Orleans!

Read days from bottom up, and time inside each day also bottoms up. 

Sat Oct 24 

Eola hotel (1840) in Natchez,Mississippi. We are on a slow drive home, our March from the sea. Thank you SEG for the good times as president. Over and out.

Friday Oct 23

Dolores and a new friend, the tiny 'gator (8 mo old). 

Fast airboat swamp tour with Kenny, wild man of the bayou. 

Thursday Oct 22

Street placard on Magazine street. 

Beautiful table of food and drink at Casamento's, a wonderful neighborhood restaurant on Magazine street. My new favorite place in New Orleans. 

Wed Oct 21

Annual Meeting General Chair Julius Doruelo elegant in a tuxedo at Wednesday evening event at House of Blues. 

Champagne toast with Jorge Hildebrand celebrating signing of cooperation agreement between SEG and SBGf, the Geophysical Society of Brasil. 

Tues Oct 20

Presidents reception. 

International reception

VIP meeting with EAGE president Mohammed Al-Faraj, my friend of many years.

John Doherty of Tullow Oil talking at Global Affairs Committee luncheon. 

Sunrise over Algiers, a section of New Orleans made famous in the book "Confederacy of Dunces". 

Mon Oct 19 -- The longest day (16 hr)

Ex-editor bear hug with Evert Slob. 

Sheral Danker celebrated at Editors Dinner for 25 years of SEG service. My note to Sheral: "Dear Sheral: You have been a charming, smiling friend for so many years to this old editor. Whenever things seemed too much of a burden, I could always count on you seeing the sunny side of things. Congratulations on this important anniversary. Your presence at the SEG has done much to make it a warm and inviting place for so very long.  Best regards and big hugs from your greatest fan. Chris Liner, 2014-5 SEG President."

Editors dinner .... scientists in a box. 

The only way to go in New Orleans. My driver was Angelina, with free fare by  TGS. 

SEG Foudation luncheon. Anadarko VP Robert Talley announcing $625K in scholarship funds over the next 5 years. 

Opening ceremony panel discussion. Note text questions from the audience on left screen. SEG interactive!!

In the green room before my presidential address with annual meeting general chair Julius Doruelo. 

Behind the scenes at opening ceremony. 

Sun Oct 18

Quick ride across the exhibition floor. 

Prof. Manik Talwani receiving the Maurice Ewing award. 

Exhibition floor 4 hours before Icebreaker. 

Sat Oct 17

Anastasia Galperina of Gubkin Oil & Gas University in Moscow. Her grandfather is the Russian geophysicist Galperin, who is very famous for early VSP research. 

Student Leadership Symposium

Fri Oct 16

My last SEG board meeting as president. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

General relativity @ 100

November 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of Einstein's theory of general relativity (GR). Actually, he published four papers on the subject in November of 1915. Remarkable. The first two papers lead to the field equations of GR while the other two lay out vital consequences of the theory, including the anomalous precession of the perihelion of Mercury (unexplained since 1859) and the gravitational bending of light. The latter phenomenon was famously confirmed by Eddington's 1919 observation of a total solar eclipse and the shift of apparent position for stars whose light passed very near the sun. Einstein, already famous, became a household name -- an early 20th century super star.

While Einstein's 1905 theory of special relativity dealt with constant velocity frames of reference, GR  dealt with accelerating reference frames. Fond of thought experiments, for special relativity Einstein imagined an elevator in space moving at constant velocity when a horizontal light beam entered from one side. As the light progresses across the small space, the elevator is moving up so that the light appears to exit on the other side below where it entered. But since the velocity is constant, the beam is still straight, just inclined to the floor.

For GR, the same thought experiment gives a different result. Because the elevator is accelerating upward, if we were able to track progress of the light beam across the elevator in equal time intervals the early intervals would show little movement toward the floor, while later ones would have more shift as the elevator speeds up. In other words, the light would appear to bend down toward the floor. Since the only known force that can accelerate everything equally is gravity, this little experiment leads to the idea that light bends in a gravitational field. The bending is small, unless the gravity is due to a very massive body leading to large acceleration.

What connection, you may ask, can GR possibly have to exploration geophysics? Well, there are several. For one thing, the GR field equations are tensor equations as are the field equations of elasticity. Also in both, the equations are so difficult that exact, analytic solutions are few. For elastic, this is basically limited to a point source in unbounded constant velocity media (Stokes, 1849) or near a plane interface (Caniard, 1939) or some ungeologic shape like a sphere or cylinder. For GR, the first (and most useful) is the field around a chargeless, non-rotating spherical object  (Schwarzschild, 1916) which introduced the concept of what we now call a black hole.

But a more interesting similarity resides in the concept of gravitational lensing. This relates to the bending of light by massive objects that lie between us and distant stars. Gravitational lensing can distort the light from stars and galaxies into a bestiary of curiously-shaped (and named) objects: Einstein crosses, rings, arcs and arclets.

While those of us in seismology are at ease with the idea of rays bending in 3D, this kind of distortion is unfamiliar. In the summer of 2004 I visited Stanford University at the invitation of Jon Claerbout. One day I was looking at some gravitational lensing images online when Jon stopped by and mentioned that the same thing must happen with seismic waves in the near surface of the earth. Specifically, the low velocity layer can act as a distorting lens, focussing and defocusing deep reflection energy as it passes upward toward surface receivers. If the effect were big enough we would see it as time shifts that we call statics. But more subtle velocity features would only show up as amplitude anomalies created by focusing and defocusing seismic wavefront energy.

Jon pointed me to pages 154-8 of his wonderful 1985 book Imaging the Earths Interior. In that section he discusses Einar Kjartansson's 1979 PhD thesis, part of which was work along these lines. Einar studied 2D data from the Gulf of Mexico and showed that anomalous pods of material in the earth would show up in the data differently if they were shallow, intermediate or deep; just as gravitational lensing depends on the relative location of source, distorting object, and observer.

That was 1979 and in 2004 Jon looked at me and said that if someone could understand gravitational lensing and bring that to the seismic problem, we would know a lot more about the near surface than we do now. Who knows, maybe he hoped that I would be able to do it. Alas, my abilities fall far short of this formidable problem.

But maybe, just maybe, someone reading this will know enough of both worlds to take on the challenge. I think young Einstein would have jumped on it.

References cited:

Stokes, G.G., 1849. On the dynamical theory of diffraction, Trans. Camb. Phil. Soc., 9, 1-62. 

Cagniard, L., 1962, Reflection and refraction of progressive seismic waves, McGraw-Hill. Translated from Cagniard (1939).   

Schwarzschild, K., 1916,  Über das Gravitationsfeld eines Massenpunktes nach der Einsteinschen Theorie. Sitzungsberichte der Königlich Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften 7: 189-196. (Title translation: About the gravitational field of a mass point in Einstein's theory)

Claerbout, J. F., 1985, Imaging the Earth's Interior, Blackwell Scientific Publications.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Opening of SEG building GRC2

Speech given August 20, 2015 by SEG President Christopher Liner at Grand Opening of GRC2. Original draft by Steve Brown (SEG Staff) with edits by C. Liner and D. Proubasta

During speech in lobby of GRC2 with Mayer Bartlett (left) and Councilman Lakin (right) listening.

Good afternoon. Thank you for coming out on such a historic day for the SEG AND the city of Tulsa. As SEG President and a Tulsa native, I am honored to preside over the dedication of this new building — the Geophysical Resource Center 2.

If you will indulge me for a few minutes, I’d like to provide some historical context for our celebration today.

Founded in 1930, the Society of Exploration Geophysicists is a non-profit organization in its 85th year. The SEG mission is one of connecting, inspiring, and propelling the people and the science of geophysics. 

Our members apply the science of geophysics to energy exploration … to mineral exploration … to environmental and engineering problems … to archaeology and mitigating earth hazards. SEG currently has nearly 33,000 members in 125 countries, with offices in Dubai and Beijing. But SEG is proud to call TULSA home.

The building just to our South — you can see it through those windows — was dedicated 30 years ago during a ceremony much like this one. We built that building, the Geophysical Resource Center’s Cecil and Ida Green Tower to serve as headquarters for SEG’s growing staff and assure stability of our Society by diversifying revenue. 

When we broke ground on this 11-acre campus back in 1983, it was an oil boom. SEG AND the city of Tulsa were riding high.

Even as SEG President Red Olander dedicated that first building, a dramatic downturn in the oil industry began. Within year oil prices fell by half and oil companies began to slash expenses.  Our Society’s membership fell that year, and it would continue to shrink for almost a decade.

Both SEG and Tulsa were going through dire straights.

What about now?

Here we are, 30 years later, in the midst of another severe downturn of the oil and gas industry dedicating another new building in Tulsa — GRC…two!  There will always be hard times and opportunities. We seize the opportunity.

The fact is that our SEG staff of about 100 occupies just ONE floor of GRC1. The rest is leased to other Tulsa businesses. Our 1980s investment in that building served its purpose. It provided much-needed office space for SEG and others in the Tulsa community and helped SEG through some tough economic times.

GRC2 -- a $20 million, 80,000-square-foot, Class-A office building — is currently almost 70% leased and we expect 85% lease by mid-September.

Our Society’s investment in real estate enhanced SEG’s ability to serve a global membership during difficult times and will continue to do so with first class tenants. 

Important companies already calling this building home include CCK Strategies, Kinder Morgan and, very soon, Central National Bank. And we have room for a few more. 

GRC2 initiated under the leadership of former SEG President Dave Monk, SEG Board Members, and the SEG Real Estate Board lead by Bob Wyckoff.  GH2 Architects, Manhattan Construction, Program Management Group and Newmark Grub took our vision and turned it into this impressive structure and campus. When we look at what’s been built here, everyone involved can take pride in knowing they did a fantastic job.

A special thank you as well to the tenants of GRC1 who have put up with all the inconvenience of construction. To our new GRC2 tenants: we couldn’t be happier to have you here.

As a significant addition to the SEG AND the city of Tulsa, I hereby dedicate and officially open the Geophysical Resource Center 2. 

Thank you.

Tulsa World article detail:

Tulsa World article full page:

Tulsa World article page one

Tulsa World article page two