Episode 53: The pros and cons of full-waveform inversion

Episode 53 proudly sponsored by ION Geophysical

In this episode, host Andrew Geary speaks with John Brittan, contributor to March’s The Leading Edge. March’s special section returns to a common and major topic for TLE – full-waveform inversion. John highlights the advantages and disadvantages of several FWI approaches, discusses the possibilities and limitations of the technique, and explores the common themes across the seven papers. Episode 53 proudly sponsored by ION Geophysical.

Interviewee biography

John Brittan received a BSc in Physics from the University of Birmingham in 1992 and, thanks to a Shell Scholarship, a PhD from Imperial College, London in Geophysics in 1995. He then was a Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 Research Fellow at Imperial, being part of the team who undertook the first seismic profile across the K-T boundary crater at Chicxulub and also being part of Imperial’s pioneering efforts in full-waveform inversion. He joined Petroleum Geo-Services in 1997, where he worked on the research and development of data processing algorithms with particular interest in the fields of multiple removal, time-lapse processing, travel-time tomography and noise attenuation. John undertook a number of management roles at PGS including Head of Processing Technology and Chief Geophysicist for Data Processing and Technology. In 2013 he joined ION where he is Vice-President, Europe and Africa in the Imaging Services division. He is an active member of the PESGB, EAGE and SEG and was until recently an Associate Editor of Geophysical Prospecting.

Related links

Subscribers can read the full articles in the SEG Library and abstracts are always free.


ION Geophysical is a pioneer in Full Waveform Inversion, an advanced model estimation technique that reduces exploration risk while enabling more effective development decisions. The ION suite of FWI technologies provide highly accurate models of the subsurface by utilizing the entire wave field, powering deeper and more robust model estimation across a range of acquisition configurations. Learn more about Full Waveform Inversion by visiting ION’s website.


Interview: John Brittan

Original music by Zach Bridges.

This episode was hosted, edited, and produced by Andrew Geary. Special thanks to the SEG podcast team: Jennifer Crockett, Ashley Rodriguez, Ally McGinnis, and Mick Swiney, with additional support from Kathy Gamble.

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