Geophysicist who became the leading authority on oil trapped under the earth, and made the famous prediction that the reserves would last only a few decades. He is a member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and he received the Elliott Cresson Medal for his contribution to science in 1981.
While pursuing his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, he worked for two years as an assistant geologist for the Amerada Petroleum Company.
In 1956 he startled the academic and political establishment with his confident prediction that oil production would peak in 1970 and then steadily decline over time.
He was born in San Saba, Texas.
Like him, Robert Beck, who pioneered nuclear medicine techniques, was a prominent Texas scientist.