List of great geophysicists

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Before our time

Name Dates Famous for
Ibn Sahl (WP) 940-1000 Discoverer of Snell’s Law of refraction
Leonardo da Vinci (WP) 1452–1519 See Carcione's essay
Willebrord Snellius (WP) 1580-1626 Refraction
René Descartes (WP) 1596-1650 Corpuscles and bandwidth
Isaac Newton (WP) 1643-1727 Corpuscles and bandwidth
Pierre de Fermat (WP) 1601-1665 Principle of least time, basis for principle of least work
Christiaan Huygens (WP) 1629-1695 Waves
Robert Hooke (WP) 1635-1703 Elasticity
Leonhard Euler (WP) 1707-83 Elastic properties, waves
Jean le Rond d'Alembert 1717-83 Derivation of the wave equation
Joseph Fourier 1768-1830 The Fourier transform!
Thomas Young 1773-1829 Elastic properties, and wave theory
Karl Friedrich Gauss 1777-1855 Too many things to list!
Augustin-Jean Fresnel 1788-1827 Interference
Gustav Kirchhoff (WP) 1824-87 Basis of common migration equation
James Clerk Maxwell 1831-79 Electromagnetic theory
John Strutt, Baron Rayleigh (WP) 1842-1919 Seismic resolution
Reginald Fessenden 1866-1932 First patent for seismic reflection imaging
Schlumberger brothers Conrad 1878-1936 & Marcel 1884-1953 Founders of Schlumberger and, less directly, CGGVeritas
Karl Bernhard Zoeppritz 1881-1908 Zoeppritz equations!
Andrew McNaughton Not known Military ranging, aided by William Lawrence Bragg, William Tucker, and others; could tell from British POV
John Karcher 1894-1978 Commercialized seismic
Norman Ricker 1896-1960 Ricker wavelet is 2nd derivative of Gaussian
Dennis Gabor 1900-79 Signal processing
John Tukey 1915-2000 FFT, with Cooley (1926– )

In our time

These people are more connected with seismic geophysics specifically.

Name Dates Famous for
Leon Thomsen
Sven Treitel
Enders Robinson
Brian Russell
Dan Hampson
Oz Yilmaz