Bee Bednar is widely recognized for his work on seismic migration. He earned a bachelor's degree in music, and a master's and a PhD in mathematics from the University of Texas. Today he considers himself first a computer scientist, then a mathematician and finally a geophysicist, although he admits to enjoying the geo-part immensely.

His affinity for computers may stem from “playing all those musical ‘computers’,” he jokes, but it also can be traced back to a challenge. Bednar was trained as a theoretical functional analyst and as such he knew nothing about applications. He once shared an office with...

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