Desiderius Erasmus award

Award for Lifetime Contribution
The Desiderius Erasmus Award is presented to a geoscientist or engineer in recognition of his/her outstanding and lasting achievements in the field of resource exploration and development.

The Erasmus Award consists of a medal and a certificate. The Award can optionally include the EAGE Honorary Membership.

The Erasmus Award 2017 is presented to: 

Martin Blunt

Martin Blunt has created impact from his prize-winning Cambridge degree, through innovative research at BP and Stanford, to becoming the youngest Professor of Petroleum Engineering at Imperial College in 1999. Exceptional in both teaching and research, Martin has made internationally recognised contributions to reservoir engineering across length-scales and applications. At the reservoir scale, he pioneered streamline-based methods for simulating multiphase flow, moving research tools to robust codes capable of handling realistic reservoir problems.

Martin has re-defined the field of pore-scale modelling to understand multiphase flow in geologic materials, creating new methods to extract pore-network models from various data types. His industry consortium developed the first pore-network model of three-phase flow that properly accounts for wettability effects and non-Newtonian fluid rheology. Martin’s unified view of pore-scale imaging and modelling is a pathway to new physics and to engineering solutions for field-scale recovery. His technical vision has guided his group towards novel techniques to measure residual phase trapping and to image fluid distribution at the pore-scale, with applications ranging from hydrocarbon reservoirs to geological carbon storage.

Martin’s work has led to two start-up companies and the 10-year, $70m Qatar Carbonates and Carbon Storage Research Centre at Imperial College. Over 15,000 citations from more than 200 publications place Martin at the forefront of research. He has an outstanding record of supervising undergraduates, MSc students and post-graduates, being awarded the President’s Medal for Excellence in Teaching. Editor-in-Chief of Transport in Porous Media, he is generous with both his ideas and his time. Adding to his two medals from SPE and an award from the Society of Core Analysts, EAGE is delighted to confer the Erasmus award onto Prof. Martin Blunt.

Paris, 12 June 2017



Previous Winners Of The Erasmus Award


Anton Ziolkowski

In a lifetime of notable contributions, Prof. Anton Ziolkowski has combined insights into fundamental physics with practical approaches to signal processing, not just in the fields of land and marine seismic acquisition but also in transient electromagnetics. A truly outstanding communicator, Anton’s quiet, modest, patient but authoritative approach to oral presentations and written articles has assisted generations of students and colleagues in understanding his work and its application. Anton has even found time to contribute meaningfully to the scientific method itself with commentary on Popper; following Popper, he would be ready to adapt his ideas when shown to be falsified by experiment but such was his physical intuition and insight that this was rarely required.

Anton has made huge practical contributions to the physics of seismic sources at sea and on land, contributing to the source scaling laws for airguns and dynamite and, with Bill Lerwill, to understanding how the dynamics of a vibroseis baseplate and reaction mass impact the source signature. Realising the importance of farfield signature estimation in improving seismic resolution and amplitude analysis, he conceived ways of modelling signatures from measurements at or near the source to the benefit of the industry as a whole.

His ideas for transient electromagnetics helped to commercialise controlled source EM methods on both land and sea, resulting in their adoption by PGS but it is probably Anton’s interactions with a hundred or more students and his great contributions to literature that establishes his lasting legacy and this conferral of the Erasmus award.

Vienna, 30 May 2016


William Symes

Erasmus spanned the cloistered world and secular society; in much the same way, William Symes has bridged the academic cloister and the industrial mêlée over a lifetime of outstanding contributions to exploration seismology. He has addressed theoretical and computational problems in wave propagation and, in particular, his seminal works on migration velocity analysis, differential semblance and full-waveform inversion have brought great insights to both academic and industry practitioners. William's ability to distil the salient points of a geophysical problem and to describe them concisely with a mathematical model has transformed current exploration geophysics. Not content with theoretical model developments, William has explored the applications of his concepts through the channel of The Rice Inversion Project (TRIP), a highly-respected industry consortium that he founded in 1992. TRIP has taken industry data sets and explored both theoretical and parallel computing approaches to render the migration and inversion of these data sets tractable.

William has made significant contributions to reverse time migration and RTM checkpointing, finite-difference and finite-element modelling, sparse-spike deconvolution that has influenced current research into compressive sensing, and wavefield scattering. He has generously shared his discoveries through code, through around 90 peer-reviewed publications as well as more than 100 extended abstracts and reports and, perhaps most importantly, by the mentoring of many now-illustrious students, post-docs and consortium colleagues.

William is Noah Harding Professor of Computational and Applied Mathematics at Rice and has gained esteem from the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, the Institute of Physics and many other universities. For his seminal contributions to methods, analysis, algorithms and software for seismic inversion and wave propagation, and for his exceptional influence as a teacher, mentor and collaborator, we present Professor William Symes with the 2015 Erasmus Award.

Madrid, 1 June 2015

Nigel Anstey

The Erasmus Award is for a lifetime contribution of outstanding and lasting achievements; against such a yardstick, few can match the achievements made by Nigel Anstey over seven decades. Nigel has made lasting contributions to seismic theory, acquisition, data processing and interpretation. As a one-man asset team, Nigel was an early destroyer of the artificial boundaries between geology and geophysics to the benefit of generations of young earth scientists who have read, enjoyed and learned from his books and teaching materials. Nigel has made outstanding contributions to resource exploration and development, ranging from his seminal papers on seismic wavelets; the statistics of thin beds and their effect on the propagating wavelet; the invention with Bill Lerwill of the magnetic correlator which made the emerging Vibroseis method a practical technique; a patent on vertical seismic profiling, and the introduction of coloured overlays of seismic attributes in interpretation. There is practically no area of seismic acquisition, processing or interpretation that has not been touched by Nigel's contributions. Not only has he been a great innovator but Nigel has a gift for writing that demystifies concepts and explains them, to novices and experienced practitioners alike, to reveal fresh insights and understanding. This gift has spurred Nigel to write excellent books on Vibroseis, seismic acquisition and seismic interpretation, as well as materials for the many courses and lectures that he has delivered over the years. Most of today's luminaries studied with Nigel's books and course notes, or had the privilege to hear his lectures in person, and it is an honour for EAGE to present its most prestigious award to such a worthy recipient.

Jean Virieux

Professor Jean Virieux’s name is a byword in numerical modelling of seismic wave propagation. He has made huge contributions to the fields of earthquake rupture theory, wavefield simulation, tomography and seismic inversion. His concept of the staggered grid representation of velocity and stress has enabled accurate wavefield modelling with sufficient economy to allow commercial migration and inversion algorithms to run in two and three dimensions, to the great benefit of exploration and earthquake seismology. He continues to study increasingly accurate and flexible seismic models in progressively complex structures with non-planar faults and heterogeneities. Prof. Virieux’s career has been highly productive with his research benefitting the wider community through studies of earthquake mechanisms and risk. His method is used, for example, in the Terashake project of the Southern California Earthquake Center to simulate seismic waves in the Los Angeles basin due to large earthquakes in the Southern San Andreas fault system. Other colleagues in Italy use his models for studying volcanic events from Vesuvius. Prof. Virieux has trained a large number of outstanding students who work in both academia and industry developing innovative methods for imaging and understanding complex crustal structures. He has authored over 60 EAGE publications, served on the Research Committee and contributed to EAGE workshops. We are delighted to present the Erasmus Award for 2013 to Professor Jean Virieux for a lifetime of achievements and practical contributions to academia and industry.

André Journel

André Journel is a figure of our industry. In France, he was one of the first three students of famous Professor Matheron, the founder of geostatistics. In 1978, André moved to the Applied Earth Sciences Department at Stanford University, where he has since spent his entire career. He co-authored the book ‘Mining Geostatistics’, which was one of the first textbooks ever written on the subject and is still a reference for the industry. He was also the father, through his students, of the famous GSLIB software, a public-domain code that greatly contributed to the spread of geostatistics worldwide. Through his work, his numerous publications and that of his more than 50 PhD students, André has led the development of geostatistics in the petroleum industry. André Journel has also always been extremely supportive of his students, who now occupy many important positions in the academic and industrial world. Last but not least, he is a very charismatic figure who is always keen to challenge the views of his peers. EAGE is pleased to honour his many pioneering achievements.

Jean-Laurent Mallet

In recognition of his groundbreaking research and development work over four decades in applied mathematics and computer sciences related to geology. Nominated Professor at Nancy in 1981, he developed the gOcad project in 1989, dedicated to the 3D modelling and visualisation of the subsurface, based on his earlier research. The output from this research project led to the creation in 1997 of the company Earth Decision Science, which subsequently merged with Paradigm Geophysical in 2006. Although he retired in 2006, Professor Mallet has continued to influence the direction of the gOcad project. Professor Mallet has published extensively, and is author of numerous patents, and has two books on current issue. His pioneering achievements have already been widely recognised by various scientific bodies, including SEG, SPE and the French Academy of Sciences.

Enders A. Robinson

In recognition of his fundamental and lifelong contribution to geophysics. His early research laid the groundwork for seismic deconvolution and the widespread use of geophysical digital filters in general. He was one of the first to pioneer and make full use of digital computers in seismic processing, and in 1965 was one of the founders of Digicon Inc.

He is the author of a dozen books, the most recent published in 2008, representing nearly six decades of scientific excellence and achievement. Universally recognised as an eminent scientist, Dr Robinson has aptly been described as one of the living legends of exploration geophysics, fully deserving the EAGE Erasmus Award for his outstanding and lasting achievements.

Fabio Rocca

So wide a spectrum of major scientific achievements as that seen from Fabio Rocca, is rare in our profession. In the Seventies, he pioneered computer contouring with faults, and multi-channel techniques for multiple suppression and spectral depth estimation of magnetic anomalies; in the Eighties, he focused on FK and residual migration, dip move-out and diffraction tomography; in the Nineties he moved onto seismic-while-drilling, and in the new century satellite interferometry. Fabio is Professor of communications and signal processing at the Politecnico of Milan, where he promotes the interaction between different disciplines. During his term as EAGE President, he pioneered geoscientific integration, a defining aspect of our association today. A professor’s quality may be measured by the achievements of his students and Fabio’s students from both Milan and Stanford, listed in the conference brochure, testify to his inspirational qualities. Fabio was Associate Editor of Geophysical Prospecting from 1981 to 1985. He received SEG Honorary Membership in 1989 and the EAGE Schlumberger Award in 1990.

Bjørn Ursin

Bjørn Ursin has been at the forefront of geophysical research, education and geo-industry for more than 30 years. His unique style, and innovative and consistent approaches to geophysics have resulted in new insights and supported technological breakthroughs for seismic acquisition, processing and interpretation. These achievements have not only shaped geophysical technology but more importantly inspired geophysicists to a new way of thinking and to a deeper understanding of geophysics. His background from industry has ensured that his academic activities are well grounded and relevant to exploration geophysics. Bjørn has authored or co-authored over 100 papers in international journals. He has always actively searched for international cooperation and has served EAGE as Editor-in-Chief of Geophysical Prospecting as well as in several committees over the years.

Sven Treitel

In recognition of his pioneering work in the field of signal processing and filter theory. He was among the earliest geophysicists to recognise and to make full use of digital computers in seismic data processing. A field where Sven Treitel has played a crucial role is the development of seismic deconvolution techniques, deconvolution being among the most significant and helpful developments in seismic data processing, extending even into such processes as synthetic seismograms and pseudovelocity log generation. His papers in Geophysical Prospecting on digital filtering and inversion are among the most widely referenced in the industry. His works on inverse theory, on wave theory and all its applications to finite difference "wave equation" migration, and on a whole sequence of other seismic issues have greatly influenced the way we conduct our daily work as geoscientists.

Augustinus Berkhout

In recognition of his innovative and unified approach to a wide range of seismic issues, resulting in several technological breakthroughs for our industry. As a leading academic and as a pragmatic pioneer in the field of hydrocarbon exploration and production, he has listened and responded to the industry’s needs, thus creating a situation that has introduced new opportunities in both industry and academia – as manifested by the major projects that he has led, such as the Delphi Consortium. His many technical contributions, including those in the field of wave propagation in complex media and as applied to dynamic and static seismic problems have had a distinctly major impact in the industry.

Roy White

In recognition of his outstanding achievements that have profoundly influenced both the industry at large and academia. A scientist , his innovative approach to the application of signal theory to seismic data and wavelet estimation together with his statistical concepts have been fundamental in the crucial problem of matching the seismic to the well data, in deconvolution and in other valuable applications in addition to his other works in petrophysics, AVO, reservoir geophysics, accuracy of Q and other disciplines which have been adopted by the industry in various forms. His services to the Association in committees and in editorial capacity have been characterised by his usual efficiency and dedication.

Turhan Taner

In recognition of his fundamental and outstanding contributions, particularly in the fields of seismic velocities, seismic attributes, reflection and refraction statics computations, plane wave processing and imaging systems, rock physics and Q estimation methods, contributions that have been characterised by originality and depth of thought and many of which have been totally ground-breaking, pioneering the way for further progress and enabling the industry to build highly successful practices.

Peter Hubral

In recognition of his many outstanding contributions to geophysics, including the introduction of image ray concepts, his work on true amplitude, on propagation in layered media and on reflection surfaces in conjunction with structural configurations, all of which have had far reaching consequences on the approach to imaging the earth, and for his services to the Association.

K. Helbig

For his original and profound contributions to all aspects of geophysics, and in particular to seismic anisotropy, for his highly influential and creative service as editor of Geophysical Prospecting, for his leadership and pioneering achievements in the teaching of geophysics, for his authorship of innovative and outstanding books on geophysics, and for his indomitable spirit and his good sense of humor, all of which place Klaus Helbig high among the immortals of geophysics.

M. Al-Chalabi (with Honorary Membership)

In recognition of his contributions to geophysics with publications on travel time approximation and analysis of seismic velocities which play an outstanding role in modern understanding of kinematics of seismic waves, and for his services to the Association.

J.F. Claerbout (with Honorary Membership)

For making Wave Theory work as the cornerstone of modern seismic processing.
For introducing the consortium as a model for collaboration between the Academy and Industry. For his teachings through the spoken, printed, and electronic word for thirty years. For his dedication and integrity that makes him an exemplar to all geophysicists.
For his generosity towards European scholars who are a significant part of the Stanford community.

D.S. Parasnis (with Honorary Membership)

In recognition of his excellence in geophysical education and his contributions to geophysics with publications and textbooks, and for his outstanding services to the Association.

Previous Winners Of The Erasmus Award