Former UW-Waukesha Student Honored by School
James Rector, a former University of Wisconsin-Waukesha student who is now an applied seismology professor at the University of California at Berkeley, is returning to his alma mater to lecture and receive its Outstanding Alumni award.
Rector will be recognized at the Sweet Rewards program at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13, in the Commons Building. “The Earth’s Riches: Reflections of an Explorer,” part of the Visions & Expressions Lecture series, will begin at noon Friday, Oct. 14 in Commons 101. Both events are free and open to the public, and free parking is available. UW-Waukesha is located at 1500 N. University Drive in Waukesha.
Born in Madison, Rector lived in Waukesha as a young child before moving to Hartland. His mother and two sisters still live in the Lake Country.
Rector attended UW-Waukesha from 1975 to 1978 before transferring to UW-Madison, where he received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1981. He went on to receive his master’s degree in exploration geophysics in 1984 and Ph.D. in geophysics in 1990 from Stanford University. Since 1992, Rector has taught at UC- Berkeley; he is an associate professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering.
Receiving UW-Waukesha’s Outstanding Alumni award is completely humbling, Rector said. “The faculty at UW-Waukesha when I was there instilled my love of learning,” he said. “My experience at UW-Waukesha shaped my life.”
Since leaving Wisconsin in the early 1980s, Rector said he has been a treasure hunter, whether for “real buried treasure, oil, gas, gold, or truffles.” His lecture will detail some of his more memorable experiences.
“It’s a far cry from Waukesha to be traipsing around in the jungles of Luzon or on a drillship in the arctic,” he said. “My life has been immeasurably enriched by the experiences and this is my first lecture ‘looking back’ although I believe there is still a lot to look forward to.”
Before becoming a professor, Rector worked as a geophysicist for Shell Oil Co., the United States Geological Survey, Tomex Corp. and Western Atlas. His principal area of expertise is borehole geophysics and multichannel signal processing. In addition, Rector has supervised students and published articles on near-surface geophysics, anisotropic imaging of borehole and surface seismic data, and wave propagation simulation.
Rector’s current research focus is in “amplitude-friendly” processing and imaging. Rector led the development of a patented technology that exploited the sounds created by the drill bit during the drilling of a borehole to create high-resolution seismic images of the formations around the borehole.
Rector has served as a senior consultant in borehole seismology for oil and gas companies including ChevronTexaco, British Petroleum, Unocal, Weatherford International, Baker-Hughes and Petroleum Geo-Services. In 1998, he co-founded Berkeley GeoImaging, which is active in oil and gas exploration, leasing and production within the Midcontinent region. He also serves on the technical advisory boards at 4th Wave Imaging Corp. and Z-Seis Corp.
For a list of past UW-Waukesha Outstanding Alumni recipients, go to http://www.waukesha.uwc.edu/Alumni---Friends/Outstanding-Aulumni.aspx.
This information came from a UW-Waukesha news release.