News Release, Kansas Geological Survey, Aug. 5, 1999
John C. Davis, head of the Kansas Geological Survey's mathematical geology section, will be presented the Wilhelm Ritter von Haidinger Medal by the Austrian Survey. The medal is named for the founder of the Imperial Geological Institute, forerunner of the modern Austrian Geological Survey. It is among the highest civilian awards given by the Austrian government and has been awarded only 11 times in the past 50 years.
Davis will be the first American to receive the Haidinger medal. He was selected for the award based on his applications of mathematical and statistical techniques to geological problems, particularly the mapping of chemical elements in the environment. Davis previously studied environmental problems in Austria and worked as a Senior Fulbright Scholar in Austria in 1994. Davis's research group at the Kansas Survey developed the computer mapping software used by the Austrians in environmental studies.
The Haidinger Medal was first presented in 1856 to W.R. von Haidinger in recognition of his service in promoting the natural sciences in Austria. The original mold for the Haidinger award was the only survivor in the Austrian Survey's collection of medals following World War II. The medal was revived as a modern award during the Austrian Survey's Centennial in 1951.
Davis is a native of Neodesha, Kansas, the son of Mrs. Helen Davis and the late Cecil Davis. He graduated from Neodesha High School in 1956, received an undergraduate degree in geology from KU in 1961, and a Ph.D. from the University of Wyoming in 1967. He has been at the Kansas Survey since 1966 and lives in Baldwin City, Kansas. He also is a professor in the KU Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering.
He is author of numerous technical articles and books. His book, Statistics and Data Analysis in Geology, published by John Wiley & Sons in 1973 with a second edition in 1986, is considered a pioneering work in mathematical geology. He is also the co-author of Probability Methods in Oil Exploration (1977) and Computing Risk for Oil Prospects: Principles and Programs (1995). Davis received the W.C. Krumbein Medal from the International Association for Mathematical Geology in 1987. He has also served on numerous national and international scientific committees and is active in several professional societies.
The award will be presented in November at Rasumofsky Palace in Vienna, headquarters of the Austrian Survey, during their 150th anniversary celebration.