The Society of Exploration Geophysicists is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the science of applied geophysics and the education of geophysicists. Founded in 1930, it is one of the premier membership organizations in the world dedicated to the scientific exploration for and development of natural resources.
Some background on the evolution of SEG (from its initial membership of 30 Houston-based oil finders to today's 32,000+ who reside in over 130 countries and who work in resource exploration/development, environmental and engineering applications, government agencies, and academia) can be found in the SEG Yearbook published annually in May.
On March 11, 1930, 20 men and 1 woman met in Houston, TX to found the Society of Economic Geophysicists. Donald. C. Barton was elected 1st president. In 1932, the group's name was changed to Society of Petroleum Geophysicists (SPG) and the first convention was held in conjunction with American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG). Once again the name was changed, this time to Society of Exploration Geophysicists and was accepted as an Affiliated Society by AAPG in 1937. After twenty-five years, SEG celebrated its first separate annual meeting in Denver, CO.
Although SEG was founded in the United States and maintains its headquarters office in the United States (and, consequently, operates under U.S. law of associations), SEG is a truly international organization. The Society has more than 33,000 members in over 140 countries and fulfills its mission through its publications, conferences, forums, website and educational opportunities. In recent years, the number of members who live and/or work outside the United States has exceeded 60% of the total. This percentage is almost certain to increase in coming years because SEG's total membership is increasing and the U.S.-based membership is declining. In 2008, SEG opened its first office outside the United States in Beijing, China, on 3 April.
The programs that have been developed to meet this objective mainly involve the efficient transfer of knowledge about advances in geophysical theory and technology to SEG members. The primary avenues for this "technology transfer" are an extensive publications effort, sponsorship of professional meetings around the world, and professional development/continuing education.
According to new bylaws approved by vote of the Active Members in 2011, SEG's ultimate governing body is the Board of Directors. This group, at least 14 voting members, meets quarterly. It is composed of the Executive Committee and Directors at Large, who are elected by the Active Members, and the Chair of the Council, who is elected by the Council.
The Executive Committee meets much more frequently than the Board and has to power to act on Society business between Board meetings. Officers on the Executive Committee are the President, President-Elect, Immediate-Past President, First Vice President, Second Vice President, Treasurer, and Editor. The presidential and vice-presidential positions are filled in a sequence that assures continuity. The Active Members elect the President-Elect, who serves a year in that capacity, a subsequent year as President, and a third year as Immediate-Past President. The Second Vice-President is elected to that office and serves a year in that position and a subsequent year as First Vice President. The Treasurer and Editor are elected for two-year terms. Directors at Large are elected by the Active Members. They serve staggered three-year terms to assure continuity.
The Council meets once a year, at SEG's Annual International Meeting, where is serves an advisory function on behalf of Sections and Associated Societies and members served by District Representatives. The Council determines its own procedures for electing its Chair who will serve a three-year term on the Board of Directors.
The Executive Committee works with the SEG Executive Director to implement its (and the council's) ideas concerning what benefits and services the society should afford to its members, and how they should be developed and funded. The services and benefits are produced by SEG's three major departments, each of which is headed by an Associate Executive Director. Here is a brief description of the responsibilities of each:
Planning and Operations
This department handles SEG's electronic infrastructure, both internally and with the membership at large, and includes application development and systems administration. This department is also responsible for maintaining SEG's Web pages (www.seg.org) and marketing, graphic arts and executive office support. Finance and Operation falls under this department and oversees all of SEG's accounting and journal and book fulfillment. It also has the responsibility for the headquarters building and grounds.
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This department is responsible for Global Relations, Research (SEAM) and the Foundation. The SEG Foundation encourages and supports scientific, educational, and charitable activities of benefit to geophysicists, through solicitation of contributions. Activities supported by contributions to the SEG Foundation are intended to supplement those supported by SEG's operating budget. This department is responsible for the Society's fundraising activities and research and grant programs. High priority programs include the SEG DISC, Field Camps funding, various student programs, eLearning, education, and Geoscientists Without Borders. In 2008, SEG Foundation exceeded its US$15 million campaign goal, celebrating pledges totaling more than US$17 million during a reception at the Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, USA. At year's end, pledges totaled US$17 232 410. SEG Advanced Modeling Project (SEAM) is a research partnership between industry and SEG designed to advance geophysical science and technology through the construction of advanced earth models and the generation of synthetic data sets.
As reported earlier, the China Office was formally established on April 3, 2008, and it is the first regional office to serve the growing international membership and exchange program. SEG China belongs to SEG Global, Inc., and it is principally engaged in market development and promotional activities, publications and conferences, and SEG member support. SEG has since opened a second office locate in Dubai. This is the premier global geosciences society in the Middle East. SEG Global Inc., Middle East is a diverse and dynamic regional office as measured by membership, constituents, and activities in the region. The global relations group is also responsible for inter-society collaboration, near-surface and sections and associated societies support along with the regional offices.
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This department is responsible for membership, university and student programs, meetings and exhibitions, forums, publications, and professional and organization development. SEG participates, with various levels of financial support, in a wide variety of professional meetings throughout the world. In most years, the number of meeting in which SEG has a major interest (i.e. some financial involvement) is between 10 and 20. However, the major responsibility of the meetings group is operation of the SEG International Exposition and Annual Meeting (which is the major source of SEG's income). This meeting is the professional highlight of the year for many SEG members. In recent years, attendance has been around 8,000, the technical program has offered about 700 technical paper presentations, and the exposition floor (long unrivaled as the world's premier showplace for state-of-the-art geophysical instrumentation) has included exhibits by more than 200 companies.
The professional and organizational development group is primarily responsible for the logistics for SEG's DL (Distinguished Lectures on geophysical topics of high interest), HL (Honorary Lectures on topics of relevance to geophysicists in local regions around the world), and Distinguished Instructors Short Course (DISC), presented on several continents by a renown instructor that teaches a course of broad relevance worldwide. Other responsibilities include public, contract, and online Continuing Education/Professional Development courses and oversees organizational training.
The publications group is responsible for three journals, Geophysics (a peer-reviewed journal published bimonthly to disseminate the latest research in applied geophysics), The Leading Edge (a monthly magazine that covers all aspects of geophysics and the geophysical community), and Interpretation (a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly to advance the practice of subsurface interpretation). SEG also publishes several reference books per year and a variety of digital publications.
The university and student programs group provide student outreach to approximately one third of the membership with chapter support, faculty and student leadership symposiums, student expos, and scholarship and travel grant opportunities.
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