On March 18, 1940, French army lieutenant Henri-Georges Doll came to the U.S. embassy in Paris to give a deposition before American Vice-Consul John Wood. Europe was at war. In September 1939, Germany had invaded Poland, England, France, Australia and New Zealand had declared war on Germany, while the United States, Ireland, Belgium and Italy remained neutral. Doll was an engineer, a graduate of two of France's grandes ecoles of science, engineering, and civil service.At the start of the war he had been mobilized to the French-German border, but early in 1940 he was summoned back to Paris to work on a new system for detecting land mines, which the Germans were deploying on a vast scale. Doll's deposition had nothing to do with war. He had come to the embassy to testify in a court case pending in Houston, Texas - a patent lawsuit, 'Schlumberger Well Surveying Corporation v. Halliburton Oil Well Cementing Company'. It marked one of the first great industrial battles for control of the technology of oil and gas exploration.Henri-Georges Doll (1902-1991) was one of the most prolific inventors of the 20th century.
Little-known outside the geophysics community until now, Doll was a pioneer in the technology of 'seeing underground' using electrical current, radio waves and sound, which enabled the explosive growth of world oil production. Given the times, he also directed his inventive genius toward military and medical research, which brought him to the foreground. However, his work had the deepest impact on commerce and engineering, brought here to the fore, but one that felt even more strongly today.