Six years ago, Stephen Laubach was a co-convener for an AAPG Hedberg Conference in Austin, Texas, on something called “structural diagenesis.”
In his opening presentation at that 2004 Hedberg, the geologist with the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin sounded the clarion for the need for an interdisciplinary look at the links between mechanical and chemical processes in sedimentary basins.
He said decades of petroleum industry focus on shallow parts of sedimentary basins where original depositional fabrics may dominate petrophysical properties could have caused artificial boundaries to arise between the geological, geophysical and engineering disciplines.
His goal – and the goal of the conference – was to break down those barriers. And continuing since that 2004 Hedberg, Laubach has continued to pursue his focus.
Now in 2010, Laubach is Elected Editor of AAPG, and his passion to promote cross-disciplinary thinking has yielded an award that bears his name, established by him and his wife, Ann, which was given at the Geological Society of America meeting held last month.
“The idea of the award,” Laubach said, “is to help the academic professoriate think about the needs to students (our future industry employees) in the era of unconventionals. That’s the reason for the emphasis on breaking down disciplinary barriers – instead of just proposing cross disciplinary research – and for targeting GSA and offering an award that could be for curriculum development.”
A call for proposals will go out each spring for the new award, which carries a $2,500 stipend.