Episode 54: A guide to the past and future of geophysics with John Etgen

Episode 54 proudly sponsored by ION Geophysical

In this episode, host Andrew Geary speaks with John Etgen, Virgil Kauffman Gold Medal winner and upcoming Distinguished Lecturer for the third and fourth quarter of 2019. John and Andrew have an engaging and multi-faceted conversation on the current capabilities of depth imaging, the limitations of full-waveform inversion, his upcoming DL tour, how his time at Stanford and the Amoco Production Research Company impacted his career, and more. This episode proudly sponsored by ION Geophysical.

Interviewee biography

John Etgen received a Bachelor of Science degree in geophysical engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and a Ph.D. in geophysics from Stanford University. During his studies, he had the good fortune to work on a wide variety of topics in seismic imaging and data processing while learning from his mentors, Jon Claerbout and Norm Bleistein, along with many talented colleagues and fellow students. He began his industrial career at the Amoco Production Research Company in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In Tulsa, he had the opportunity to work on a wide variety of topics and learn from leading researchers, such as Dan Whitmore, Rusty Alford, Kurt Marfurt, Ken Kelley, Sam Gray, and many others. In 1999, Amoco merged with British Petroleum (BP) and John moved to Houston, Texas.

In 2008, he and Carl Regone were awarded the Virgil Kauffman Gold Medal for their work in wide-azimuth marine seismic. In late 2011, John was appointed distinguished advisor for seismic imaging at BP. John currently serves as assistant editor for GEOPHYSICS and continues to work in the upstream technology organization at BP.


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 Etgen

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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