CSEG History: 1960 – 1969

The 1960s were perhaps the most important growing years for the Society. Membership climbed from 465 in 1960 to more than 900 nine years later. The decade saw the birth of the CSEG Ladies Auxiliary, public lectures, awards and the CSEG journal. By the end of this decade, the Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists was an integral part of Calgary’s oil community.

Some years earlier, in 1954, the practice of geology and geophysics became regulated under legislation governing professional engineers. For a number of reasons, including curriculum and definitions, this proved to be less than satisfactory and starting in 1956 the CSEG began working with the Professional Engineers on issues that have not been completely resolved to this day. The issue at hand was the qualifications for registration for geophysicists and geologists in Alberta. As a result, in 1960, the legislation governing the professions was changed to include separate designations for geophysicists and geologists. The Engineering and Related Profession Act, 1960, defined "Professional Geophysicists"and "Professional Geologist"and the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta (APEGGA) was put in charge of administering the act. However, both the CSEG and ASPG continued to work with APEGGA to change the qualification for registration with respect to their professions.

In 1960 the workload was such that the executive expanded to make the secretary/treasurer into two positions instead of one. There were a record number of technical meetings instead of one. There was a record number of a series of annual public science lectures was held. Dr. D. W. Currie spoke to a crowd of 1,500 on the Aurora Borealis. The Society continued to sponsor annual public lectures throughout the ‘60s, with the last lecture held in 1970. In an attempt to encourage more local participation in the Society programs and to provide extra incentive, the executive established the Best Paper Award. A $100 prize would go to the author or authors of the best oral presentation given at a CSEG meeting by a Calgary resident each year. A committee was struck to select the winner. Dr. A.E. Scheidegger received the first ever CSEG Best Paper Award for his presentation "Fault Motion as Determined by Earthquake Seismograph.”

During the year the Public Relations and Publicity Committee remained active and a Research Committee was struck. The Research Committee, which grew out of the IGY Committee, continued to serve as liaison between the oil industry and both government departments and academic institutions.

In 1960 only two scholarships of $350 each were awarded, one at the University of Alberta and one at the University of Saskatchewan. Society members also spent time working with other technical organisations. The CSEG met with the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta (APEGGA) and contributed material and editing skills to the Journal of the Alberta Society of Petroleum Geologists.

The following year most of the activity continued. Ten technical meetings were held, two scholarships awarded, nine newsletters published and the research committee remained active. In February ’61 a one-day conference on the major problems facing exploration geophysicists was held. The conference was "the result of adverse economic influences in the oil and the mineral industries."Also, during the year, Dr. C.S. Beals spoke to 750 people on Ancient Meteorite Craters in Canada at the second annual public science lecture. The Education Committee started a tradition by participating in the city’s annual science fair. The Society donated $50 and supplied judges and consultants for the event.

Also in 1961, the CSEG adopted its official emblem. The design, by Leslie Duska, preserves the theme of the basic geophysical methods: magnetic, gravity and seismic.

The year 1962 is best remembered as the year the SEG held its 32nd annual convention in Calgary – the first ever SEG convention held outside the United States. "It was an extremely successful meeting,"CSEG member Norm Christie said in an interview. "It set a record for attendance up to that time."Christie served as general chairman for the meeting, with R.A. (Bob) Boulware as co-chairman and Arnie Junger as program chairman. Approximately 1,500 delegates from more than 20 countries attended. The meeting was held at the Jubilee Auditorium, a feat that became impossible only a few years later, and featured technical sessions and exhibits.

The Society was also involved in awarding two scholarships, participating in the science fair and assisting the University of British Columbia in the reorganisation of its geophysical society. After years of work, the technical library committee was discontinued. At the same time a Publications Committee was established. Its function was to gather data relevant to technical papers presented to the CSEG. The third annual public science lecture attracted more than 1,500 people when Ewen A. Whitaker spoke on "A Visit to the Moon."The fourth public lecture, held in ’63, saw 1,800 turns out to listen to Nobel Prize Winner Harold Urey.

Over the years the CSEG has encouraged its members to expand their knowledge of geophysics. In 1962, 65 members took part in an eight-week course on Gravity and Magnetics, sponsored by the Society.

Relations with the SEG continued to be strong in 1963 when Canadian Norm Christie was elected SEG president. Christie, later president of Teledyne Exploration Ltd. from 1967 to 1979, was the first non-American selected to serve as president of the American Society. At the same time the CSEG appointed a New Orleans Technical Program Committee to coordinate presentations to be made by Calgarians at the SEG’s annual convention.

A Constitution Revision Committee met in the ‘63-’64 term. The executive asked the Committee to solve the problem of the timing of the annual election. In January, when elections were held, few of the members had yet paid their annual dues and thus many were ineligible to vote. The committee recommended that the voting be conducted in December. That recommendation was passed and put into effect December 1964.

In 1963 the Distinguished Lecturer was the famous Canadian geophysicist Dr. Tuzo Wilson of the University of Toronto. In appreciation of his presentation, the CSEG presented Wilson with a painting of Mount Tuzo, named after his mother who made the first ascent of the mountain. Calgary artist Doug Stevens did the painting.

The appointment of a Transportation Committee in ’63 led to European excursions for 50 CSEG members and wives the following year. Members gathered in Liege, Belgium for a meeting of the European Association of Exploration Geophysicists and later toured the Schlumberger research institute in Paris, France.

The year 1964 was a breather for the Society - while work on existing committees continued, no new activities were undertaken. However, 1965 made up for the previous twelve months.

After several months of preparation, the first issue of the Journal of the Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists was distributed in mid-1966, with John Swistek as editor. The issue was backdated to December 1966, the 15th anniversary year of the Society. The Journal contained a collection of technical papers. According to the ’65 executive, "the primary aim of this publication shall be to provide practical papers for the exploration geophysicist."Over the years, although the Journal’s format has changed considerably, the content remains much the same. Today, the magazine continues to devote most of the space to the publication of technical papers. While the Journal remains an annual publication, it is through no lack of effort on the CSEG’s part. Ever since the first issue was distributed, editors have talked of expanding to two issues per year. In 1985, twenty years later, this became a priority objective of the executive committee.

In 1965 the Honours and Awards Committee was established. Its job has been to recommend worthy applicants for the honorary membership and meritorious service awards. The two awards were created to give some of the more outstanding CSEG members official recognition.

A Meritorious Service Award may be given to someone who has worked hard in the service of either the CSEG or SEG, or both. He should have contributed significantly to the affairs of either society, not necessarily on a technical basis. In most, if not all cases, the award should be given on retirement or transfer.

An Honourary Membership should be given on a much more restrictive basis, and only to someone who has distinguished himself in the field of geophysics. It need not be awarded on the basis of service.

Perhaps the most public recognition for the CSEG in 1965 came from the annual public science lecture. More than 1,800 people gathered to listen to NASA’s John A. O’Keefe’s talk, "The Surface of the Moon."The Education Committee also had a successful year, participating in high school career nights as well as speaking at some of the schools. An "Exploration Update"was arranged for university professors in ’65, when the Society organised a five-day seminar on petroleum geophysical application. The seminar attracted university instructors from across Canada. During the year, the CSEG also conducted a course, "Geophysics for Geologists,"in cooperation with the ASPG and the University of Alberta’s Department of Continuing Education.

And in 1965 the first annual picnic and barbeque was held. The event, which drew more than 300 people the first year, continued to be held until the mid-1970s when its popularity waned. The outdoor affair gave entire families an opportunity to get together.

It was also in ’65 that the CSEG executive discussed the possibility of organising a ladies auxiliary. "The need for such an auxiliary has long been apparent, particularly to assist at conventions and other functions of the society where the ladies presence was desirable. These would include the spring dance, golf tournament, family barbeque and regional or international meetings."Thus, in February 1966, members Bob Boulware, John Hodgkinson, Harry Carlyle and Percy Smith met with several of the wives to discuss the possibility of organising such a group.

On April 28, 1966 the CSEG Ladies Auxiliary held its inaugural meeting. A constitution was drawn up and an executive chosen: Mary Galeski, president; Genia Boulware, 1st vice president; Mily Hodgkinson, 2nd vice president; Peggy Siegfried, secretary; Shirlee Stroup, treasurer. The purpose of the group, according to the constitution, is "to advancing the cause of the CSEG.”

The Ladies Auxiliary was successful from day one. Less than one year after the group held its inaugural meeting, membership reached 172. Within the first two years, the auxiliary had produced its first yearbook and started distribution of a monthly newsletter, the "Ladybug Chatter."Although first established primarily to assist the CSEG, the auxiliary has since become an active group in its own right.

Over the years the auxiliary has taken on responsibility for organising a number of CSEG events. The women organise the annual picnic, the spring ball and registration at the Society’s national conventions. In addition, members participate in a number of annual social events. The Ski Spree, curling party and Night at the Races, are some of the more popular activities organised for auxiliary members and their spouses. The Ladies Auxiliary also organises a variety of events exclusively for the women. Each year the group holds a Meet the Candidates party, a fall dinner and a fashion show. Interest groups include bridge, arts and crafts and gourmet cooking.

In 1966 CSEG membership climbed to more than 500. President John Hodgkinson directed much of his time towards improving the functions of existing committees. "The primary aim of your executive for the past year has been to continue and extend the educational activities of the Society which were so successfully initiated by previous executives and to foster cooperative enterprises with other technical societies."The Education Committee continued to participate in career nights at high schools. CSEG members were informed of the continuing education courses offered at the University of Calgary, which many members later attended.

During the spring of ’66, Roy Lindseth put on a Digital Lecture Series for Society members. Scheduled at a time when digital technology was sweeping the geophysical industry, the series caught the attention of the SEG and was scheduled for their Continuing Education Program. Lindseth spoke on the topic in thirty countries around the world.

"The Technical Liaison and research Committee met six times during 1966 to prepare a brief on the Status and Outlook of Exploration Geophysics in Canada, for Oil and Natural Gas. The project was undertaken to assist the Canadian Association of Physicists (which was) commissioned by the Science Secretariat of the Privy Council, to prepare a major discussion of the Status and Future of Physics in Canada, for presentation in 1967."The CSEG’s report was competed and submitted December 1966.

During the year a joint meeting of the ASPG and the CSEG attracted more then 580 people. At the three-day conference, entitled "Exploration for Natural Gas in Western Canada," 27 papers were presented. Education continued to be one of the Society’s major concerns in 1967 as members expressed the desire to stay abreast of changing technology. The CSEG maintained active liaison with APEGGA’s education committee and with the University of Calgary, the Southern Alberta Institute of technology (SAIT) and Mount Royal College. In January 1967 the CSEG joined the Regina Geophysical Society in providing the Saskatchewan Engineering Show with a geophysical exhibit. The newly formed University of Calgary was placed on the CSEG’s scholarship list for the first time in 1968. Four scholarships were awarded that year to students in western universities.

In ’68 as members continued to seek to expand their knowledge of geophysics, two courses entitled "Gravity and Magnetics"and "Recent Advances in Digital Processing"were organised and well attended. And, during the year, the technical meetings were rescheduled to noon, in order to encourage greater attendance. Throughout the ‘60s, until the building was finally torn down in the early ‘70s, the CSEG held its monthly meetings at Penley’s Dance Academy. The meetings were always an experience in themselves, Roy Lindseth recalls. In later years, the building was in less than ideal condition and if it was raining, buckets were strategically placed on tables to catch drips.

Nineteen hundred and sixty-nine was a successful year for the CSEG. Membership reached an all time high of 967. The SEG held its 39th annual convention in Calgary - the second time it had met in that city. Pete Savage was chairman. An annual report, summarising the year’s events, was published and distributed for the first time. The Membership Committee published the Society’s first pictorial membership directory. In addition to a photo directory, the publication contains a list of past executive officers, a brief history of CSEG and a copy of the Society’s constitution and bylaws. During the year the CSEG became involved in the petroleum industry’s committee for the employment of northern residents. The purpose of the committee was to bring about an increase in the number of skilled northerners and thus increase employment opportunities.

As the work continued to pile up in 1969, the Society voted to enlarge the executive to include a business manager. The first business manager, G. J. Sykes, was elected in 1970.

(Taken from ‘Traces Through Time’ by David Finch, 1985)