Geosciences in Review: 2019

2019 was the 50th anniversary of UT Dallas and also of the Geosciences Department, one of the three founding departments. It was also a year of big changes in our department. Professors Carlos Aiken and George McMechan retired and Emeritus Professors James Carter and Bob Rutford passed away.

Professors Lumley, Zhu, and Minkoff (Math) started a new industry-funded research consortium, “3D+4D Seismic Full Waveform Inversion,” focused on advanced methods for seismic imaging and inversion of 3D and 4D time-lapse seismic data; seven companies have already signed up.

We also started the Permian Basin Research Lab (PBRL), devoted to teaching and research about the prolific Permian Basin and its resources . The PBRL already enjoys industry support in the form of data contributions and collaboration; the Lab signed an agreement in August with DrillingInfo allowing it to acquire data on tens of thousands of West Texas wells.

In September, we had a most excellent 4th annual “Welcome/Welcome Back” Department Party at the Wolfcamp Equine Center, thanks to the hospitality of Dave and Larissa Williamson, where over 200 student, alumni, and faculty attendees swapped stories and rekindled connections. We hope to see you there next year. Assistant Professor Hejun Zhu received the J. Clarence Karcher Award from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, and Professor Robert Stern received the International Award from the Geological Society of Japan. We added a new X-Ray Diffraction instrument and two dozen Leica binocular microscopes to our growing analytical facilities.

Addressing growing the Department, we were disappointed in our efforts to hire an Assistant Professor last year but were able to hire an excellent Senior Lecturer, Dr. Mortaza Pirouz, who specializes in structural geology. We are now actively searching for an Assistant Professor in the broad field of sedimentology and basin analysis and are working closely with UTD Administration to develop a strategy for the future growth and focus areas of the Geosciences Department. In our efforts to plan for the future, strong alumni support has played a key role.

The Department website was recently updated; please visit it from time to time to see what’s new. Better yet, drop by in person for a visit and get a tour of the Department facilities at our campus home, the UT Dallas Research and Operations Center (ROC). We are very proud of our alumni and their accomplishments in industry, academia, and government, and the support they give us is the envy of other UTD departments.