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
Ernst Chladni 1756–1827 'The father of acoustics'
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
James David Forbes (WP) 1809–68 First seismograph
Robert Mallet (WP) 1810–51 Controlled source seismology
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
Maurice Ewing WP 1906-74 Marine seismology
John Tukey 1915-2000 FFT, with Cooley (1926– )
Michael Schoenberg WP 1939–2008 Anisotropy

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