Ralph D. Wyckoff (SPE)
AIME Anthony F. Lucas Gold Medal* in 1965
Ralph D. Wyckoff has pioneered many of the concepts on which modern reservoir engineering and oil recovery practices are based. He is recognized for his work as a geophysicist particularly in developing the airborne magnetometer and the Azon bomb, the allies only guided missile during World War II.
After receiving a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Michigan State University in 1920, Mr. Wyckoff spent several years with the U.S. Bureau of Standards before concentrating on research and development work.
With Gulf Research and Development Company he was responsible in 1931-35 for such developments as the Darcy Unit and its introduction to industry, the relative permeability concept, construction of the first electrolytic model to study problems in water flooding, and investigation of the nature of water coning. He was an early advocate of well-spacing practices and has exerted considerable influence in recognizing the importance of determining bottom-hole pressures and their significance.
After work on military projects from 1941-45, he became director of the Instruments Division, and in 1955 he was appointed vice president and director of both Gulf Minerals Company and Dominion Gulf Company.
Now retired from Gulf, but still holding executive positions, Mr. Wyckoff serves as research professor of geophysics at the University of Pittsburgh.