Doug Schmitt - 2008

CSEG Meritorious Service Award Recipient Citation for Doug Schmitt
by Jon Downton

Doug SchmittFor 2009 the CSEG is awarding Doug Schmitt the Meritorious Service Award. The Meritorious Service Award is given to members of the CSEG who have made a prominent and/or lengthy contribution to the Society and/or the industry as a whole. In his role as the Canada Research Chair in Rock Physics at the University of Alberta Doug has made significant contributions to the industry through his research and through his teaching and mentorship of many students over the years. Further, Doug has been active in the CSEG making technical contributions and serving as an Ambassador for the CSEG in Edmonton promoting our society.

Doug grew up on a farm near Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park in South Eastern Alberta. At the age of 4, he became interested in science and geophysics when he heard the low frequency rumble originating from large bombs exploding 80 miles away at Suffield. When he asked his mom what the sounds were, she replied that "scientists" were doing it and from that moment on Doug wanted to be a scientist. Doug went to a four-room country school with 8 grades. Along with graduating Doug, this school also produced one of Canada's Nobel Prize winners – Dr. Brockhouse. Doug received his B.Sc. from the University of Lethbridge in 1980. He then worked briefly as an exploration geophysicist for Texaco till going back to university to do his M.Sc. and Ph.D. at the Seismological Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. His thesis was on the "I. Application of double exposure holography to the measurement of in situ stress and the elastic moduli of rock from boreholes, II. Shock temperatures in fused quartz and crystalline NaCl to 35 GPa". He then did post-doctorate work related to hydraulic fracturing at Stanford with Mark Zoback.

Doug then joined the University of Alberta as an Assistant Professor of Geophysics in 1989. At this point in time there was a large number of retirements of geophysics professors from the University of Alberta. Together with Mauricio Sacchi, Doug helped rebuild the geophysics program into one of the finest in Canada. Today, Doug is Canada Research Chair in Rock Physics at the University of Alberta. Over the last 20 years Doug has supervised many Ph.D.'s and M.Sc.'s. An indication of their quality is the frequency of CSEG convention technical awards that he and his students have received over the years. The CSEG membership has also benefited from Doug's teaching ability as he has taught a short course on rock physics at the Doodletrain. I can attest that Doug is an excellent teacher. A number of years ago I had the opportunity to take a rock physics course from Doug via video conference. It was an excellent course and deepened my understanding of the relationship between the rock properties and their seismic response.

Doug has made important contributions addressing Canadian geophysical problems. Of particular note is the work that he and his students have done trying to add to our understanding of the geophysics of heavy oil reservoirs in Northeast Alberta. Here they have performed a series of experiments showing the applicability of 4D for the monitoring of enhanced oil recovery from these reservoirs. Doug is recognized as an expert in this area and recently co-organized a SEG workshop in Alberta on this topic. In the past he has organized a CSEG workshop on this same topic.

In conclusion, I believe Doug is a most worthy recipient of the CSEG Meritorious Service Award. He has made a prominent contribution to our society and industry through his teaching, research and ambassadorial service to our society.