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Biographies of geophysicists that have lead the way in exploration geophysics
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March 30, 1867 was the day Secretary of State, William H. Seward purchased Alaska, 375 million acres, for $7.2 million, less than $0.02 an acre.



Biographies \ 
Frank Press

When I was asked by Carl Savit to present this citation for Honorary Membership to Frank Press, I felt highly honored and personally gratified, as I have valued Frank's friendship ever since we were graduate students together many years ago. But I foresaw, correctly as it turns out, that I would have two problems. First, how could I ever do justice in the short time allotted for my citation to a man with so many outstanding accomplishments? And secondly, with so much that I would like to say, what would I leave out and where would I begin?
     Consider, for example, Frank's contributions to the earth sciences as recorded by his publications. He has written 150 technical papers and is co-author of the classic textbook on seismic waves in layered media. He has made significant advances in such varied areas of geophysical research as the structure of the earth's crust and mantle, the constitution of the moon, earthquake seismology, and seismic-wave propagation.
     Or consider his exceptional record of service in areas where science enters into public affairs. He was an advisor to the governor of California on atomic activities and a member of President Kennedy's (and later President Johnson's) Science Advisory Committee. Between 1959 and 1963, he represented the United States at four nuclear-test ban conferences in Geneva and Moscow, where seismological monitoring of atomic tests was a key issue. In this assignment he showed consummate skill in handling critical negotiations with formidable adversaries. As chairman of the Earthquake Prediction Panel of the President's Office of Science and Technology, he has a position of major responsibility in a program which could have enormous human benefits.
     Frank received his doctorate at Columbia University in 1949 as a student of Dr. Maurice Ewing, another Honorary Member of the SEG. After six years on the Columbia faculty, he moved to Caltech, where he worked with Dr. Beno Gutenberg, one of the great pioneers of earthquake seismology, succeeding him as director of the Caltech Seismological Laboratory in 1957. Eight years later he took over his present position as Chairman of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
     Recognition for Frank's accomplishments began quite early in his career. In 1960, he won a $5,000 prize as the California Scientist of the Year. Shortly afterwards, coincidentally I am sure, he bought a sailboat which he still uses. He has won the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Great Britain and only two weeks ago the Arthur Day Medal of the Geological Society of America. In 1961, Mt. Press on the Antarctic Continent was named for him in recognition of his contributions to Antarctic studies. This is one of the most unusual distinctions that has come to any geophysicist.
     Throughout his career, Frank has maintained a strong interest in exploration geophysics and he has made significant contributions in many aspects of this field. He actually began his work in geophysics with a summer job on a Gulf seismic crew at Liberal, Kansas in 1945.
     Frank attained a position of leadership in the scientific world at an exceptionally early age. In 1962, his picture appeared in Life magazine as one of the 100 most important people under the age of 40 in the United States. A week short of 48, he is the youngest person to have been awarded Honorary Membership in the SEG since Everette Lee DeGolyer received it 42 years ago.
     Frank's accomplishments are not limited to his scientific attainments. He is a skilled sailboat pilot; an authority on professional baseball and New Orleans-style jazz; a good husband who encouraged his gracious wife Billie to have a distinguished career of her own in education, even before the days of women's lib; and the proud father of two accomplished children, the older of whom has just received his Ph.D. in astrophysics at Caltech.
     In awarding Frank Honorary Membership, the other members of the SEG honor themselves by association. By presentation of the plaque we show, in the best way we can, our recognition of all he has done for exploration geophysics.

     Milton B. Dobrin



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