EARTH-MOVING ACHIEVEMENTS BY UH GEOSCIENTISTS
Research, Educational Excellence by Five Professors Honored by NSF,
SEG and Others
HOUSTON, March 8, 2007 – Whether it’s tracking down
hydrocarbons or explaining how mountains are built, University of
Houston geoscientists have amassed knowledge of seismic proportions,
according to three international science societies and the National
Five UH geosciences professors recently received prestigious honors
for expertise in various areas. The honorees include:
- Janok Bhattacharya, Robert Sheriff
Professor of Sequence Stratigraphy, is tapped to receive the Grover
E. Murray Memorial Distinguished Educator Award from the American
Association of Petroleum Geologists in an April ceremony for outstanding
contributions to geological education.
- Aibing Li, assistant professor
of geophysics, received a $450,000, five-year NSF Faculty Early
Career Development Award that supports teacher-scholars who most
effectively integrate research and education within the mission
of their organization.
- Fred Hilterman, Margaret Sheriff
Professor of Geophysics, received the Maurice Ewing Medal from
the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG). The highest honor
given by SEG, the Ewing Medal extends special recognition to major
contributions to advancing the science and profession of exploration
- John F. Dewey, distinguished university
research professor of geology, received the Structure and Tectonics
Career Contribution Award from the Geological Society of America
for his contributions to the science of structural geology and
- Kurt Marfurt, professor of geophysics
and director of the Center for Applied Geosciences and Energy,
was chosen by SEG to teach its 2006 Distinguished Instructor Short
Course (DISC). Selection as the DISC instructor is regarded as
a recognition of excellence by SEG.
“Five awards of this caliber in one year is truly remarkable
for any department, and we could not be prouder of the outstanding
accomplishments of these professors in both teaching and research,”
said John Casey, chair of the geosciences department in the College
of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. “They have clearly distinguished
themselves among their peers, and the honors bestowed upon these
five exceptional faculty members are a measure of the strength of
our geophysics and geology faculty and our research and teaching
programs at UH.”
Bhattacharya’s research focuses on sequence stratigraphy,
a branch of geology concerned with interpreting rock deposition
patterns used in hydrocarbon exploration and other geological pursuits.
“Our program crosses the boundaries between geophysics and
engineering disciplines and provides an important environment for
teamwork and integration that we believe provides a model for industry,”
Li is working on integrating seismic constraints on the continental
“The oldest continent blocks, known as cratons, have been
in existence over billions of years since their formation,”
she said. “How cratons keep their stability from the destruction
of tectonic events and how they evolve through geological history
are interesting yet challenging questions.”
As a member of the UH Center for Applied Geosciences and Energy,
Hilterman heads the Reservoir Quantification Laboratory (RQL), established
to better understand the physical processes affecting seismic amplitude
that can be used to identify the composition and shape of possible
RQL research involves wave theory, processing, lab experiments
and continuous verification with field data. Seismic 3-D surveys
and data from deepwater reservoirs to hard-rock reservoirs in West
Texas are under investigation, Hilterman said.
Dewey is well known for pursuing a unifying theory for formation
of mountain belts in Ireland and the Eastern United States and for
his groundbreaking proposals in 1968 of how plate tectonics could
explain orogeny, the geological process of mountain building. A
member of the National Academy of Sciences, Dewey joined UH in January.
Marfurt’s SEG course discussed seismic attributes for exploration
and reservoir characterization. He presented this one-day seminar
at more than 25 locations around the world, appealing to a wide
audience that ranged from students to seasoned professionals.
About the University of Houston
The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research
and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers
and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate,
civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university
in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and
service with more than 35,000 students.
About the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
The UH College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, with nearly
400 faculty members and approximately 4,000 students, offers bachelor’s,
master’s and doctoral degrees in the natural sciences, computational
sciences and mathematics. Faculty members in the departments of
biology and biochemistry, chemistry, computer science, geosciences,
mathematics and physics have internationally recognized collaborative
research programs in association with UH interdisciplinary research
centers, Texas Medical Center institutions and national laboratories.
To receive UH science news via e-mail, visit www.uh.edu/admin/media/sciencelist.html.
For more information about UH visit the universitys Newsroom at www.uh.edu/admin/media/newsroom.