Re: best seismic interpreters
I think there is no single answer to your question. There are complex answers and simple opinions, some based on experience, some not, but as for a definative answer simple answer, I don't think there is one. The opinions I express below area based on my experiences.
1) I think my MS in physics made me better at understanding many of the pitfalls and problems that can derail the quality of a set of data than I would have been without it.
2) Without my BS in geology and haveing a genrally "big picture" personality I don't think I would have been as good at interpreting as I was.
3) The best geophysict I knew was a trained as a physicist.
4) When the big lay off crunch came in the mid 80's most of my geologist friends who were working as geophysicists kept their jobs longer than did the physics trained guys (but that was a very small number and so sampling error may invalidate the observation)
5) I was told that in the late 70's and early 80's, when that boom began, companies hired many physicists, engineers, and mathematicians and tried to cross train them into geophysical interpreters but statistically it didn't work out so they started hiring geologists with minors in math, physics,or engineering. and cross training them.
6) Generally speaking the engineers have as much trouble with the vagaries of geology as geologists do with the specificity of engineering - but - one of the best geologists I ever worked with was an electrical engineer with an MBA in finanace. Physicists sometimes have the same problem - the vagaries of geology.
7) At the school where I got my geology degree we recruited our best students from the music department.
8) A few decades after the previous experiences I was teaching geology at a community college and had occassion to help a geophysics grad student and a senior geophysics major from a near by university set up a seismic station. The senior commented that he was going to geophysics summer camp in a few months. I asked him if he had been to geology summer camp and his reply was a somewhat astonished, puzzled, and slighlty demeaning - Why should I. To which I replied because th first sylablle of geophysics is geo!. And why were they having to have me help them set up the station? Because neither could read a topgraphic map or a compass.
9) When I was a graduate student I was interviewed for a job as a geophysicist. When asked why I had not pursued a geophysics curricula rather than a geology/physics one I said that from what I had seen geophysists didn't know enough geology or physics to do the job correctly. I didn't get hired but never regreted the answer - though as mentioned above there are plenty of individual expceptions.
Individually I would say it depends on the person. Statistically I will go with the geologists.
My only advise is to quite worrying about being slighted and learn as much as you can from anyone who knows more than you regardless of their academic training. For over 40 years I've been amazed at what "unqualified" people knew.