Petroleum geologist and executive
His family hailed from Russia but escaped from the pogroms of the 19th Century by moving to Norway and later the United States. He had a childhood interest in maps, geography, and astronomy, to which his father, who became a professor of mathematics in New York, added an interest in numbers. He went on to take a course in astronomy at the University of Arizona, but moved to geology, which was then enlivened by the breaking concept of plate tectonics. That in turn led to a career in the oil industry, which in due course resulted in an assignment to Trinidad where he made some pioneering studies in geochemistry to determine which areas would be respectively oil- or gas-bearing. That was followed by to a transfer to Norway in 1980 where he pioneered the geochemical evaluation of the North Sea and northern shelf. He was then put in charge of evaluating the Communist bloc following the fall of the Soviet government. In due course, facing the customary frustrations of a major oil company, he moved to run a small enterprise in Kazakhstan before accepting an offer from Yukos in Moscow. When that collapsed, he took on other assignments in eastern Europe and with a Kuwaiti company investing in Russia, before becoming the chief executive of a small company exploring West Africa. He has had a colourful and varied career in the oil business built on a very analytical mind.
I hope that the economic hardships of the worldwide recession will result in a realisation of the necessity to shift consumption patterns.