Episode 216: Rethinking Data – Geophysics in the Era of Change (Lindsey Heagy)

Dr. Lindsey Heagy discusses February’s special section in The Leading Edge on the future of applied geophysics.

In this forward-thinking episode, we explore open-source software and its possibilities to transform the geosciences. As the world potentially shifts away from a hydrocarbon-based economy, the need for innovation in areas like mineral exploration, groundwater management, and urban geophysics has never been more pressing.

Lindsey shares her insights on the power of open-source software to democratize science, allowing a broader community to engage in problem-solving and innovation. She explains the nuances of open-source licensing and its implications for collaboration and commercialization. We also get an inside look at the creation and impact of SimPEG, an open-source framework for geophysical inversions, which has become a sandbox for researchers to plug in new ideas without reinventing the wheel.

This episode is a treasure trove for anyone interested in the intersection of technology, education, and research. Lindsey highlights how tools developed for teaching can lead to new research insights and how the open-source movement is redefining the value of scientific contributions.

Seismic Soundoff · 216: Rethinking Data – Geophysics in the Era of Change (Lindsey Heagy)


  • The timely importance of re-evaluating priorities in geophysics
  • The role of high-quality, publicly available data in expanding participation in science
  • The definition and implications of different open-source licenses
  • The story behind the development of SimPEG and its impact on geophysical research and education
  • How open-source software fosters collaboration between academia and industry
  • The future of open science and the evolution of scientific contributions


  • 1:50 – The February issue of TLE explores the future of applied geophysics
  • 3:22 – What are some of the opportunities for applied geophysics?
  • 4:50 – Defining open-source software
  • 6:58 – Why the licensing terms matter
  • 8:29 – The motivating factors behind SimPEG
  • 14:46 – Making the business case for using open-source software
  • 20:31 – The importance of sharing data and code for the future of geophysics

Episode Links

Guest Bio

Lindsey Heagy is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences (EOAS) at the University of British Columbia.

Her research interests are in data science and inverse theory applied to questions in resource exploration, groundwater, and environmental applications. Her research group primarily focuses on machine learning and inversion methods for characterizing the subsurface using geophysical data, including electrical and electromagnetic data, as well as potential fields (gravity and magnetic data).

Lindsey contributes to open-source projects, including software for computational geophysics and open-access educational resources for geosciences.

Show Credits

Seismic Soundoff showcases conversations with geoscientists addressing the challenges of energy, water, and climate.

SEG creates these episodes to celebrate and inspire the geophysicists of today and tomorrow.

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This episode was hosted, edited, and produced by Andrew Geary at TreasureMint. The SEG podcast team is composed of Jennifer Cobb, Kathy Gamble, and Ally McGinnis. 

Transcription and episode summary support provided by Headliner.

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