It is a great honour and a pleasure to have been asked to write a profile of my longtime friend, partner and mentor, Dan Hampson. Indeed, I can't think of anybody else in the world I would rather have as a partner, and let me tell you why.
Let's start at the beginning. What would motivate a boy from east end Montreal to grow up to be one of the leading innovators in the world geophysical industry? My theory is that it all started with the great education that Dan received at Loyola High School, Where the Jesuit priests were well known for instilling a life long love of learning and critical thinking. This lead Dan to complete his B.Sc. in physics at Loyola College in Montreal, followed by his M.Sc. in physics from McMaster University in Hamilton. Dan then went on to do what a lot of us did in those days, seeking out adventure with CUSO by teaching high school math and physics in Ghana, West Africa for two years. He then briefly considered doing his PhD in physics but ''as talked out of it by one of his CUSO friends, who lured him west with stories of multitudinous job for physic graduates in the Calgary oil patch (remember, this was ... the early '70's).
Dan heeded the call, packed his bags and headed west to join a fledgling seismic processing company called Veritas Seismic in 1975. Dan soon discovered that geophysics was quite a bit different than physics, and so he set about learning it on his own. I firmly believe this is what led Dan to so much of his innovative work in geophysics, the fact that he was able to take a fresh look at the subject using the math and physics tools he had acquired at university. After several years as a seismic processor, Dan then moved to the oil company side of the business, spending several years with Phillips Petroleum in Houston. However, he could not resist the lure of both Calgary and Veritas, and returned to resume his career with Veritas as Manager of Research. Dan now had the task of finding solutions to real problems, such as multiples and statics. This lead to one of Dan's biggest contribution to our science: the development of the generalized linear inverse technique for solving refraction statics problems, and the development of the parabolic Radon transform for solving multiple problems. Dan's publications on these two subjects have been one of the most highly quoted papers in the seismic literature. Indeed, a recent book by Dr. Lynn Kirlin, titled Covariance Analysis for Seismic Signal Processing, has a whole chapter discussing "The Hampson Algorithm".
In 1985, Dan was appointed Vice President of Research at the newly formed Veritas Software, a company that had been spun off from Veritas Seismic. While at Veritas Software, he helped develop a number of new products and ideas that were to be the basis for his future endeavors. Indeed, Veritas Software was a wonderful incubator of ideas, and Dan's colleagues included people like Mike Galbraith, Rob Stewart, George Palmer, and Rick Wallace, all who have gone on to make important contributions in geophysics.
In 1987, Dan took an exceedingly bold step when he left Veritas Software to open a small start-up geophysical software business called Hampson-Russell Software Services Ltd. (I can certainly attest to our mixture of fear and excitement when we started the company.) Over the last thirteen years I have had the pleasure of helping Dan turn Hampson-Russell from a three person startup to a company with over 30 employees in Calgary, London, and Houston. Dan is one of those rare individuals who combines a love of science with a love of business. Although his main passion is still in writing dynamic geophysical software, he is equally adept at reading a balance sheet and making strategic decisions about future company growth. Dan's interests have certainly changed since his early infatuation with seismic processing, and his current work involves a wide range of topics from inversion through AVO through geostatistics. On the business side, his skills were sharpened through the completion of an MBA at the University of Calgary in 1993.
Over the years, Dan has been very active in the CSEG, serving as vice chairman of the 1992 CSEG Convention, and President in the year 1996. He received CSEG's Best Paper Award in 1982, and Meritorious Service Award in 1991. In 1996, Dan was the co-recipient of the SEG's Enterprise award for his contributions to the business side of geophysics. Dan is an excellent lecturer, and presents courses and papers throughout the world on various geophysical topics. Anyone who has ever heard Dan speak on technical issues is amazed at the clarity with which he can break through very complex ideas and make them appear simple. What is more amazing, is how Dan can give these talks under great pressure and stress, and still seem relaxed. (Like the time his slides got dumped out of the tray 5 minutes before his talk was about to begin. Or the other time, which has been well documented by Rob Stewart in his biography of Dan for the Enterprise Award, where he was driven to the convention center with his brand new slides and arrived 5 minutes after his talk was scheduled to start!)
If you asked Dan about his many accomplishments, I'm sure he would say that his proudest accomplishment has been in helping to raise two wonderful daughters, Josee and Annie. His eldest daughter, Josee, is currently in her second year at Queen's University in Kingston, and his younger daughter, Annie, is in grade eleven.
Finally, I should also tell you that Dan has interests outside of geophysics. He is a fine pianist, and often plays public duets with his violinist/geophysicist friend Hai-Man Chung. Dan has also been known to take to the ski slopes with his daughters, although he claims he is no "expert" there.
In summary, let me just say what a privilege it has been to be associated with Dan for all these years. I join with all his friends and colleagues throughout the world in thanking him for all of his contributions to our profession.