It is doubtful that there is a geophysicist-geologist in the profession today who is as well known for the great breadth and variety of information at his command as the "walking encyclopedia" who is the third recipient of an honorary membership in the SEG to be granted at this time.
How does a mind with such an unusual capacity for assembling information get to be that way?
Born at Carrolton, Kentucky, on the Ohio River, Paul Weaver's
father and mother both were teachers.
As a boy of nine his
interest in science was first aroused when a Professor Miller, from Transylvania, a small college in Kentucky, came to collect fossils and happened to engage the boy to drive a surrey, take care of the horses and help with the collections.
There were Indian mounds and, under the Professor's guidance, he
began to pick up Indian relics.
Later, when his
father became head of Brooklyn Boys' High School
, this interest was continued and expanded by special classes and collecting trips for plants, insects and rocks, conducted by an inspiring woman of the children's Museum of the Brooklyn Institute
An early manifestation of his
varied capabilities was a study of Greek with his
father which led to his
entering Columbia University with the highest entrance examination grade in Greek ever made there.
Then, to show another facet of a diverse mind, while at Columbia, he
won a mathematics prize for papers on partial differential equations and on the theory of probability.
first job out of college was as a mathematician with the U.S. Coast
and Geodetic Survey in Washington.
had been there a year or so a small group of geologists of the Land Classification Board, within the U.S. Geological Survey, decided that they needed a mathematician to carry out some rather complex calculations for the evaluation of coal lands, which required an analysis of thickness, quality, and depth of the coal beds.
stay there was interrupted in 1914 by a revolution and Paul
went to London with Whitehall Petroleum Corporation
This job was soon ended by the beginning of the First World War.
He then joined British Intelligence and was sent to Japan to investigate mineral resources there and in Siberia.
After that job was done he returned to Mexico where for some ten years he was superintendent and technical advisor for the Mexican Eagle Oil Co.
While there he
pioneered in devising equipment to handle the gushers of the Tampico area and also started torsion balance surveys before they were used in the Gulf Coast.
In 1926 he
came to Houston with the Gulf Oil Company
as geophysicist, later chief geophysicist and finally technical advisor to the Vice President until his
retirement two years ago.
had been known to geophysicists and geologists for his
writings and also for his
many lucid and fascinating talks and lectures.
has always had a fund of new ideas and suggestions in many fields.
After coming to Houston, Weaver
became interested in water supplies in the Houston area and in Texas in general.
ground water studies made him one of the first to realize that a priceless resource was being wasted and he
began to preach water conservation.
After retirement from the Gulf company he
began teaching at Texas A & M and has continued his
water conservation campaign.
His public service has been recognized by his being named to the Governor's Water Committee of Texas, on the water committee of the South Texas Chamber of Commerce, and as a delegate to the United Nations Conference on Natural Resources.
He has been honored both as a geophysicist and a geologist, having been President of the SEG in 1933 and of the AAPG in 1948.
Anyone who has known Paul Weaver
friends has heard anecdotes about him.
I will mention two that seem typical.
One time he
was discussing the manner by which a young man read very rapidly by scanning two lines of type at a time.
said "that is pretty good but I take three going across and one coming back.
Presumably this was for reading in English and may not apply to his
reading in Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Italian, Russian or Greek.
Another comes from an experience when he
was on Sakhalin Island for British Intelligence
during the First World War.
It was desirable to make a hydrographic map of certain harbor entrances to see if they were deep enough to accommodate large ships but such mapping would have to be done secretly.
How would you do that in mid winter with the harbor frozen over?
hired natives to fish for him through the ice at places he
equipped them with fish lines marked with a code of knots to map his
fishermen's locations, noted the positions of the colored knots on their lines and had depth points because, in winter there, the fish feed on the bottom.
The fishermen never knew why they were moved around so much, regardless of whether they caught fish or not, but Paul
I am happy and honored to have been selected to present to Paul Weaver
, scholar, scientist, geologist, pioneer geophysicist, public servant, and highly regarded personal friend, this honorary membership in the Society of Exploration Geophysicists