List of great geophysicists

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Before our time

Name Dates Famous for
Ibn Sahl (WP) 940-1000 Discoverer of Snell’s Law of refraction
Leonardo da Vinci (WP) 1452–1519 See Carcione's essay
Willebrord Snellius (WP) 1580-1626 Refraction
René Descartes (WP) 1596-1650 Corpuscles and bandwidth
Isaac Newton (WP) 1643-1727 Corpuscles and bandwidth
Pierre de Fermat (WP) 1601-1665 Principle of least time, basis for principle of least work
Christiaan Huygens (WP) 1629-1695 Waves
Robert Hooke (WP) 1635-1703 Elasticity
Leonhard Euler (WP) 1707-83 Elastic properties, waves
Jean le Rond d'Alembert (WP) 1717-83 Derivation of the wave equation
Ernst Chladni (WP) 1756–1827 'The father of acoustics'
Joseph Fourier (WP) 1768-1830 The Fourier transform!
Thomas Young (WP) 1773-1829 Elastic properties, and wave theory
Carl Friedrich Gauss (WP) 1777-1855 Too many things to list!
Siméon Denis Poisson (WP) 1781–1840 Poisson effect, probability
Augustin-Jean Fresnel (WP) 1788-1827 Interference
James David Forbes (WP) 1809–68 First seismograph
Robert Mallet (WP) 1810–51 Controlled source seismology
Gustav Kirchhoff (WP) 1824-87 Basis of common migration equation
James Clerk Maxwell 1831-79 Electromagnetic theory
John Strutt, Baron Rayleigh (WP) 1842-1919 Seismic resolution
Reginald Fessenden 1866-1932 First patent for seismic reflection imaging
Schlumberger brothers Conrad 1878-1936 & Marcel 1884-1953 Founders of Schlumberger and, less directly, CGGVeritas
Karl Bernhard Zoeppritz 1881-1908 Zoeppritz equations!
Andrew McNaughton Not known Military ranging, aided by William Lawrence Bragg, William Tucker, and others; could tell from British POV
John Karcher 1894-1978 Commercialized seismic
Norman Ricker 1896-1960 Ricker wavelet is 2nd derivative of Gaussian
Dennis Gabor 1900-79 Signal processing
Maurice Ewing WP 1906-74 Marine seismology
John Tukey 1915-2000 FFT, with Cooley (1926– )
Michael Schoenberg WP 1939–2008 Anisotropy

In our time

These people are more connected with seismic geophysics specifically.

Name Born Famous for
Aki and Richards Seismic theory
Leon Thomsen Anisotropy
Sven Treitel Seismic theory
Enders Robinson Seismic theory
Brian Russell Seismic analysis, entrepreneurship
Dan Hampson Seismic analysis, entrepreneurship
Oz Yilmaz Seismic theory