The 2018 Beno Gutenberg Medal is awarded to Haruo Sato for outstanding contributions to seismology and the development of new insights into stochastic properties of Earth structure through theoretical and observational studies of scattered seismic waves.
Haruo Sato is an extraordinary seismologist who has carried out fundamental work in both theoretical and observational seismology. His interests are broad, but he is best known for his pioneering studies of scattered high-frequency seismic waves, which he has studied using a powerful combination of theory and observation. On the theoretical end of the spectrum, his work addresses the challenging problem of how to account for the presence of realistic geologic heterogeneity in quantitative wave propagation models. On the observational end of the spectrum, his work focuses on how to use such models to understand stochastic properties of Earth structure. His observational work has motivated novel theoretical developments, and his theoretical work has guided new observational approaches. His body of work provides a quantitative framework for the interpretation of short-period seismograms. Sato was one of the developers of ‘Multiple lapse time window analysis’, which is now a standard approach for the important problem of separating scattering and intrinsic attenuation. He developed the simulation of elastic wave envelopes in multiple scattering environments by introducing radiative transfer theory to seismology and combining it with the Born approximation. His use of the parabolic Markov approximation allowed him to synthesise scattered wave envelopes with quasi-analytic solutions. In recent work, he combines these approaches to treat even more general cases. His book, Seismic Wave Propagation and Scattering in the Heterogeneous Earth, co-authored with Fehler and Maeda, is in its second edition and has become the essential reference for high-frequency seismic-wave propagation in the Earth. In addition to his excellence in research, Sato is widely known as a collegial scientist who is generous with both his time and his expertise; and as a mentor who is particularly supportive of the development of early career scientists. Haruo Sato’s extraordinary contributions to seismology make him a worthy recipient of the 2018 Beno Gutenberg Medal of the European Geosciences Union.