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This profile was last updated on 4/30/01  and contains information from public web pages.

John Marion Crawford

Wrong John Marion Crawford?

Board Member

Sandia Research Laboratories
 
Background

Board Memberships and Affiliations

  • Seismic Advisor
    US Defense Department's ad hoc advisory group
  • Chairman of the Geophysical Research Committee
    American Petroleum Institute
  • Seismic Advisor for the Ad Hoc Advisory Group
    US Defense Department
Web References
Biography for John Crawford
museum.seg.org, 30 April 2001 [cached]
John Crawford
'Oftentimes - doing something simply because it's right - not expecting it to instantly pay off, turns out to be the economical thing to do.'
...
John Marion Crawford's sanctum in their garage is cluttered and kaleidoscopic.A visitor, dodging easels, lightstands and buckets, and focusing through the polychromic confusion, finds the beauty of his paintings astounding.It is even more improbable as the artist, almost by way of apology, admits he first brandished a brush at age 53. The medium is watercolor - not his first choice but as a result of an allergy to oil bases and no interest in acrylics.And the style?Well, the measure of realism - the jaded blade of grass - has been surpassed.The minute, circular ripple left in the wake of a trout's dive is not forgotten in one of Crawford's immortalized fishing ponds.Perhaps this is a clue to the scientist/artist's meticulous mind.
Crawford's belated embrace of the arts was not at first passionate.He reluctantly attended some classes because of a childhood memory - his father, a happy, active Irishman, suffered a stroke which impaired his mobility.The father, having no sedentary interests, turned inward - and John never forgot it.Thus, later, anticipating his own old age, he determined he would have something to foil the fate of inactivity. As it is, at 73 the search for inspiration may take the Crawfords as far away as the Swiss Alps.Numerous juried show awards, exhibits, and some 200 originals plus uncounted prints sold, bespeak his work - and his drive. "My idea of hell," Crawford says, "is a place with nothing to do."
Even as a boy, in Madison, Kansas, he'd rush to his father's hardware store after school to lend a hand.Merchandising was only a part of the business."We overhauled tractors, repaired farm implements, built windmills, fixed faulty plumbing, and much more.Years later, as a doodlebugger, those skills came in handy.As far as field work, what I learned from dad was probably more valuable than my college education." However, in 1932 he obtained his Bachelor's at Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma, and in 1934 a Master's in physics from the University of Oklahoma.He worked his way through both.
...
Crawford says: "My brother and I were walking into his house.Suddenly, we both felt as though someone, or something, had struck us in the small of the back.And sure enough, later that day we got word of a tragic dynamite accident on a Petty geophysical party which had been working miles away [TLE, December 1982]. "The impression that made on me was revived my first day on the job at Conoco.I rode out to the magazine with the shooter.He got into it, lifted a 50-pound case of dynamite, and threw it to me.If I could have fainted without dropping the dynamite, I would have."
...
"I was elated," says Crawford."They probably chose me because the gravity work I was supervising was winding down and they didn't know what else to do with me. Be that as it may, they told me I could have four men.Some names were suggested by management and I was pleased with their qualifications.But I had a special request.
...
Crawford recalls his team's first contribution: "A division geophysicist told us of an area where he believed there was a structure - but it wasn't showing.The problem, he thought, was that the velocities were changing fast as they went across the structure.That was before the days of velocity control.
...
In February 1960 Crawford, Doty and another researcher, Milford Lee, published Continuous Signal Seismograph in Geophysics.
...
John, the elder son, is now a director of Sandia Research Laboratories, and Jim is a physics professor and department head at Southwest Texas University.
...
On the passing of his daughter, the senior John also found himself with his 18-month-old granddaughter, Debbie, to care for, but again, providentially with the help of Latane Tracy Crawford whom he had married in 1956.Tonnie, a science teacher in Ponca City for 15 years, was well acquainted with children, including Crawford's.And she switched roles from step-grandmother to mother with ease and grace.
...
In 1960, Crawford was promoted to assistant manager of research and development.But the added prestige was not all-important to him. "While I was director of geophysical research I wouldn't have traded jobs with anyone in the country, including the President.But the new title involved complex labor relations and red tape.In other words - gone were the days of doing my job while enjoying good one-to-one relationships with colleagues. "Furthermore, the upcoming wave of management seemed too concerned with the short-term balance sheet.If ideas were not going to pay off immediately there was no use fooling with them.
...
Pondering what to do next did not reduce Crawford to a meditative slumber.It seems to have had the opposite effect - triggering a whirlwind of professional activity without detriment to family, civic, and church activities.In 1963, while keeping up with his Conoco assignments, he toured the US and Canada as SEG's Distinguished Lecturer on the development of Vibroseis.Simultaneously he presided over the Geophysical Society of Tulsa.If this were not enough, he also attended his first painting lessons.In view of other people's amazement at his gift for making time, Crawford simply jokes: "I didn't waste any getting rich." He also was chairman of the geophysical research committee of the American Petroleum Institute, and seismic advisor for the US Defense Department's ad hoc advisory group on the detection of nuclear detonations.In this latter capacity he was with scientists such as Drs. W. Panofsky, Frank Press, Jack Oliver, Hugo Benioff, and F. G. Blake, with Richard Latter - the big-hole advocate - chairing the illustrious panel.Their recommendations are undoubtedly classified material.
Then, early in 1964, Crawford became research fellow.As such, he administered all Vibroseis licenses and handled new negotiations worldwide."It was pleasant work," comments Crawford, "but it became rather redundant."And again, hyperactivity was his answer to any shortcomings. In between licensing engagements in England, France, Germany or wherever his method was in demand, Crawford continued inventing.He already held several US patents, including the co-signed Method of and Apparatus For Determining the Travel Time of a Vibratory Signal Between Spaced Points (Vibroseis for short).But in the mid- to late '60s a flurry of new Crawford ideas were filed and patented - Automatic Positioning Device; Floating Support for Seismic Transducers; Chromatography Apparatus; and Process for Transporting Solids in Pipelines, are but a few.
Naturally, a list of kudos had preceded this.In 1947 his old alma mater, Phillips University, elected him to the board of trustees, and in 1957 he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree.In 1967, Crawford and the co-inventors of Vibroseis, Doty and Lee, became the third recipients of the SEG Medal Award (later the Reginald Fessenden) for their technical contribution to exploration.
...
Crawford was on stage in San Francisco's Civic Auditorium with Howard Breck, Milton Dobrin, Franklyn Levin, Harry Mayne, Vincent McKelvey, Turhan Taner, and Sam Worden.
...
Crawford had chosen early retirement in 1971.After 37 years with the same employer - Conoco - it was a total divorce from industry except for reading the journals.Since then, he devotes his time to Tonnie, painting, some fishing with friends, Sunday School teaching, traveling and whatever time is left, to rest. While he indeed divorced himself from the industry, perhaps more conclusively than others, his name remains wedded to his work.Generally, he is considered the inventor - the father of Vibroseis, or Mr. Vibroseis (as some in Conoco called him).Ah - the human tendency to personify an invention, a major battle, a work of art. But as Crawford knows, only the latter can be a one-man show.Yet, talking about those early and exciting days of research, he drowns the facts in the credit he gives others.
...
Per Doty: "Without the combination of talents that Crawford assembled, there might not be a Vibroseis as we know it today.Just as important as the science and the technology that go into a project, are the intangibles - and these are hard to assess.Crawford's leadership, his rapport with management, his knack for encouraging creativity and thinking, were just as necessary as all the ideas he contributed.
...
Now, setting his brushes aside for a moment, Crawford talks on the following pages about something which has no shape or color - a signal - one which shook the world.
These signals were manually positioned with respect to each other at about three millisecond intervals.The correlation value was read out on a meter.Each of these values was plotted by hand and
Geophysicists - John Crawford
virtualmuseum.seg.org, 18 April 2012 [cached]
John Crawford
...
John Marion Crawford's sanctum in their garage is cluttered and kaleidoscopic. A visitor, dodging easels, lightstands and buckets, and focusing through the polychromic confusion, finds the beauty of his paintings astounding. It is even more improbable as the artist, almost by way of apology, admits he first brandished a brush at age 53. The medium is watercolor - not his first choice but as a result of an allergy to oil bases and no interest in acrylics. And the style? Well, the measure of realism - the jaded blade of grass - has been surpassed. The minute, circular ripple left in the wake of a trout's dive is not forgotten in one of Crawford's immortalized fishing ponds. Perhaps this is a clue to the scientist/artist's meticulous mind.
Crawford's belated embrace of the arts was not at first passionate. He reluctantly attended some classes because of a childhood memory - his father, a happy, active Irishman, suffered a stroke which impaired his mobility. The father, having no sedentary interests, turned inward - and John never forgot it. Thus, later, anticipating his own old age, he determined he would have something to foil the fate of inactivity. As it is, at 73 the search for inspiration may take the Crawfords as far away as the Swiss Alps. Numerous juried show awards, exhibits, and some 200 originals plus uncounted prints sold, bespeak his work - and his drive. "My idea of hell," Crawford says, "is a place with nothing to do."
...
Crawford says: "My brother and I were walking into his house.
...
"I was elated," says Crawford.
...
Crawford recalls his team's first contribution:
...
In February 1960 Crawford, Doty and another researcher, Milford Lee, published Continuous Signal Seismograph in Geophysics.
...
John, the elder son, is now a director of Sandia Research Laboratories, and Jim is a physics professor and department head at Southwest Texas University.
...
On the passing of his daughter, the senior John also found himself with his 18-month-old granddaughter, Debbie, to care for, but again, providentially with the help of Latane Tracy Crawford whom he had married in 1956. Tonnie, a science teacher in Ponca City for 15 years, was well acquainted with children, including Crawford's. And she switched roles from step-grandmother to mother with ease and grace.
...
In 1960, Crawford was promoted to assistant manager of research and development.
...
Pondering what to do next did not reduce Crawford to a meditative slumber. It seems to have had the opposite effect - triggering a whirlwind of professional activity without detriment to family, civic, and church activities. In 1963, while keeping up with his Conoco assignments, he toured the US and Canada as SEG's Distinguished Lecturer on the development of Vibroseis. Simultaneously he presided over the Geophysical Society of Tulsa. If this were not enough, he also attended his first painting lessons. In view of other people's amazement at his gift for making time, Crawford simply jokes: "I didn't waste any getting rich." He also was chairman of the geophysical research committee of the American Petroleum Institute, and seismic advisor for the US Defense Department's ad hoc advisory group on the detection of nuclear detonations. In this latter capacity he was with scientists such as Drs. W. Panofsky, Frank Press, Jack Oliver, Hugo Benioff, and F. G. Blake, with Richard Latter - the big-hole advocate - chairing the illustrious panel. Their recommendations are undoubtedly classified material.
Then, early in 1964, Crawford became research fellow. As such, he administered all Vibroseis licenses and handled new negotiations worldwide. "It was pleasant work," comments Crawford, "but it became rather redundant. And again, hyperactivity was his answer to any shortcomings. In between licensing engagements in England, France, Germany or wherever his method was in demand, Crawford continued inventing.
...
In 1967, Crawford and the co-inventors of Vibroseis, Doty and Lee, became the third recipients of the SEG Medal Award (later the Reginald Fessenden) for their technical contribution to exploration.
...
Crawford was on stage in San Francisco's Civic Auditorium with Howard Breck, Milton Dobrin, Franklyn Levin, Harry Mayne, Vincent McKelvey, Turhan Taner, and Sam Worden.
...
Crawford had chosen early retirement in 1971. After 37 years with the same employer - Conoco - it was a total divorce from industry except for reading the journals. Since then, he devotes his time to Tonnie, painting, some fishing with friends, Sunday School teaching, traveling and whatever time is left, to rest. While he indeed divorced himself from the industry, perhaps more conclusively than others, his name remains wedded to his work.
...
Per Doty: "Without the combination of talents that Crawford assembled, there might not be a Vibroseis as we know it today.
...
Now, setting his brushes aside for a moment, Crawford talks on the following pages about something which has no shape or color - a signal - one which shook the world.
...
At a meeting of the Geophysical Society of Tulsa held in Ponca City, Crawford and Doty spoke about their work of the past five years.
...
Says Crawford:
...
Suffice to say that at least two Oklahoma firms of early association became, with Crawford and Doty, and Conoco, namesakes of the vibrator - i.e., George E. Failing Co., of Enid, and Mertz Inc., of Ponca City.
...
Crawford says: "The film record it produced was played back by means of a photocell arrangement.
...
The mathematical principles it served were discussed in Continuous Signal Seismograph by Crawford, Doty and Lee (Geophysics, February 1960) - imperative reading for the student of Vibroseis evolution, past, present, or future.
...
Says Doty: "John and I were on a plane en route to demonstrating this to management.
...
I ran down the aisle to tell John, beside myself with excitement. But John was a bit skeptical.
...
But Vibroseis became a much-needed alternative - the notable legacy of Crawford, Doty, and their invaluable colleagues.
...
John Crawford, director of the exploration research department (geophysics), and Frank Searcy, assistant manager of geophysics of the firm's operating group, were to meet with major geophysical contractors regarding Conoco's newest development - the Vibroseis.
...
The basic concepts were born in a couple of hours, parented by John Crawford and Bill Doty - who claim that without each other, neither might have followed the lead toward the invention.
...
Says Crawford: "In the summer of '52, Bill Doty had just come back from a seminar where new math concepts on information theory had been presented.
...
"It occurred to Crawford," Doty says, "that a sweep was the type of unique signal we needed - it would match itself only at one time-phase relationship during a single frequency trip."
...
Then Crawford remembered having read about an old principle for making a mechanical vibrator. "Counter-rotating, off-center weights were geared together in such a way that their vibrations added in the vertical direction and cancelled in the horizontal. To make a sweep signal, all we needed to do was to continually speed up and slow down the driving engine." Doty and Crawford knew they were onto something.
...
In fact, 20 years earlier, as assistant operator in a seismograph crew, Crawford had wondered why, instead of an impulse, couldn't a steady state signal be used? Probably others wondered too. But admittedly, Crawford never gave it a second thought until Doty tossed that article on his desk.
...
Crawford selected and procured equipment. He also had the tenuous task of ensuring that some of Conoco's money (then a $448-million annual gross) would be apportioned to research.
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