A cornerstone in the geophysical research and development field in Calgary for the last 20 years, Sudhir Jain, will be closing his company, Commonwealth Geophysical, at the end of June and moving on to other things. Sudhir's contribution to the geophysical community, not only in new software and techniques for exploration, but also through leadership to the community provided through talks and papers in these areas and through the friendships that he has established, will not easily be forgotten. We are sure that the friendships will continue and that the technical innovation which he introduced and implemented will also continue to be utilized in the future.
Sudhir was born in 1938 in India, where he obtained his B.Sc. Honors degree in Geology and Geophysics and a M. Tech. degree in Exploration Geophysics, in 1957 and 1959 respectively, from the Indian Institute of Technology at Kharagpur. Following graduation he went to work for the Oil and Gas Commission in Dehra Dun, India. He soon moved on to England where he met his wife and where he obtained his Ph.D. in 1964 at the University of Liverpool. Sudhir joined GSI in London after graduation, just at the time that they went digital, and went later with them to Libya. Good friends from those days are Marion and Roger Mahoney. Sudhir says that Marion joined GSI at the same time he did and met Roger over a ping-pong table at his home in Tripoli. Marion remembers that Sudhir's wife Evelyn had to be evacuated from Libya when she was 8 1/2 months pregnant with her first child because of the June war. The Mahoney's have continued to be close friends of the Jain's and claim some credit for convincing Sudhir to come to Calgary. When asked whether there was anything the readers of this article should know about Sudhir, Roger was reminded of an award presented to Sudhir for the Best Paper from a geophysicist under 30 years of age. The presentation was made in Madrid in a somewhat formal environment. Sudhir, who has always done things in his own way, didn't feel it necessary to conform to the request to wear a tie and as a consequence, accepted the award outside the hall!
Sudhir left GSI in Libya to work for Mobil Oil in the areas of interpretation and software development. After 3 years he decided to pursue opportunities in North America, and moved to Philadelphia where he worked with Aero Service, a company involved in Aeromag Surveys. He stayed in Philadelphia until the Mahoney's made a visit there in 1973 and convinced him to consider Calgary as a place to live. His first visit here, to talk about a position with Digitech, was in the fall of 1973 when the temperature of -200 didn't manage to deter him. He came to work in February of 1974 as Manager of Research with Digitech, where he stayed for the next two years. In 1976 he formed Commonwealth, where he combined all of his prior experience and expertise developing software, mainly in the areas of inversion, magnetics, multiple attenuation, modeling and AVO, and offering services in these areas. At the present time Commonwealth is the largest service in Calgary dealing in aeromag, with half of its business in this area. Sudhir's decision to go into business for himself was motivated by a desire to see his software marketed and utilized in the industry. He says that his software was never designed to be "user friendly". Anyone using it had to have an understanding of the processes involved, and therefore he needed to attract people to work with him who had strong technical backgrounds. Commonwealth supplied services to companies around the world and prided itself on the quality of its product. In speaking of his years running Commonwealth, Sudhir says "Nobody ever said they didn't do a good job, they may have had a dry hole or two, and sometimes the process didn't work for a specific problem, but they were always technically competent."
The current trend towards workstation technology has resulted in individual interpreters wanting software that they can use themselves and which therefore must be easy to use. This means that anyone wanting to market software must devote a lot of time to packaging and also to follow-up to ensure that it is properly utilized. Sudhir's love has been in the area of developing new approaches and experiencing the excitement of his colleagues as they utilize the software together. "Enhancing the excitement of excited people trying to do the impossible looking for a needle in a haystack" has been the best part of this business for him - he says being a geophysicist is like being a traveler in space exploring the universe only this universe is beneath the ground and we have to explore it in our minds, without being able to see it. He did not want to spend a lot of time on marketing in the new environment and, as a result, found his business becoming more and more focused on aeromag rather than seismic. When he realized that this was no longer providing the pleasure which had made his working life so rewarding and which motivated him to live and breathe geophysics for 35 years, "60 hours was an easy week", and realizing that, thanks to his wife's successful medical practice, he no longer needed to work to survive, Sudhir decided to move on to other things.
What will he do now? At the present time his plans are to read (mainly classical novels with a psychological bent) and to write a book or two on the history of music, and then - whatever catches his interest. He says he is definitely not retiring! Of particular interest to him are two composers Gustav Mahler and Antonio Salieri. Everyone who knows Sudhir well knows of his love of Mahler's music. In fact, instead of the traditional geophone, which is normally presented to luncheon speakers by the CSEG, at his last luncheon talk, he was presented with a recording of Mahler's music. Sudhir says that the music of these composers is an intense experience which fulfills a need in him and requires his full concentration when he listens to it. He wants to study what it is that attracts certain types of people to certain music. Some people love the music of Mahler and others can take it or leave it. Salieri, on the other hand, was very popular for a long time in Vienna while Mozart struggled to make a living. Sudhir would like to know why Salieri doesn't get the credit he deserves, and what there is in his music that people admired in his time.
Sudhir, who says he never wanted to be rich, only to earn the respect of his colleagues, certainly has achieved his objective wherever he has worked. For him the industry has been a place where trust is honored and where people stick together and help each other out. He has enjoyed his life in it and is thankful for having had the appreciation of his fellow professionals - "no one can ask for more". While he says that he is going to have little involvement in geophysics after the end of June, many of us will not be surprised if he is enticed back into the field in the future. In the meantime, his wife and three daughters will be able to enjoy more of his time.