Arthur Benjamin Weglein

From SEG Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The printable version is no longer supported and may have rendering errors. Please update your browser bookmarks and please use the default browser print function instead.
Arthur Benjamin Weglein
Art Weglein headshot 2016.png
PhD Physics
PhD university City University of New York

Arthur B. Weglein received his PhD in Physics from the City University of New York in 1975 and then spent two years as a Robert Welsh Postdoctoral Fellow at UTD. He entered seismic petroleum research in 1978 and worked at the Cities Service Oil Company Research Laboratory in Tulsa from 1978–1981 and then at Sohio Petroleum Company Research Laboratory in Dallas from 1981–1985. Weglein joined ARCO in 1985 and spent the next 15 years as a member of its research staff, where he was elected to Research Advisor in 1987 and Senior Research Advisor in 1994. He spent a sabbatical year (1989–1990) as Visiting Professor at the Federal University of Bahia in Brazil and three years (1991–1994) as Scientific Advisor at Schlumberger Cambridge Research in Cambridge, England. In September 2000, he joined the University of Houston as the Margaret S. and Robert E. Sheriff Endowed Faculty Chair in Applied Seismology.

Weglein started the Mission-Oriented Seismic Research Program and industry consortium in January 2001. The goal is to solve specific fundamental problems that would produce the biggest positive step-change in the ability to locate and produce hydrocarbons. This project is designed to serve the core and aligned interests of university education and research, seismic science, and the petroleum industry. Industry response has been overwhelmingly positive. In September 2002, Weglein was promoted to a university-wide chair, the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professorship, in Physics, with a joint professorship in the Department of Physics and the Department of Geosciences.

Art received the SEG Maurice Ewing Medal in 2016 and served as the Spring 2003 SEG Distinguished Lecturer.

SEG Maurice Ewing Medal 2016

Arthur Benjamin Weglein started working on seismic exploration challenges in the 1980's , beginning with a careful examination of the state of seismic capability, and what assumption violation(s) could reside behind the breakdown of seismic methods, and drilling dry hole exploration wells, and making less than optimal development well placement. To provide new seismic tool box options and capability, he launched a long term fundamental research effort to pioneer, develop and deliver new mathematical-physics concepts and methods( and seismic algorithms) that could avoid the limiting assumptions behind many conventional seismic processing methods and algorithms. He was the first to recognize that the Inverse Scattering Series (ISS)allowed for the only direct inversion of a multidimensional ( acoustic, elastic, anelastic...) subsurface. Weglein soon understood the fundamental difference between ISS and the conventional iterative linear inverse, using the first term in a Taylor Series expansion. ISS had a single unchanged reference medium whereas the iterative linear inverse had a new and updated reference medium at every iterative step. To produce practical algorithms from the ISS , Weglein pioneered and developed the concept of isolated task subseries, a set of distinct subseries for every task that can be imagined within the processing objectives of seismic exploration. Those tasks include: free surface multiple elimination, internal multiple attenuation and elimination, Q compensation without knowing , estimating or determining Q, depth imaging without a velocity model, and direct elastic parameter inversion. Each of these tasks is achievable directly through distinct isolated subseries of the ISS , and each is achievable without knowing, estimating, or determining any subsurface information. The first isolated tasks to be delivered and enter the seismic tool box related to the elimination of free surface multiples and the attenuation and elimination of internal multiples.

Below please find a link with a video presenting an extended version of an invited key-note address for the SEG/KOC Workshop: Seismic Multiples, the Challenges and the Way Forward” in Kuwait December 3-5.

“A new perspective on removing and using multiples | they have the same exact goal | imaging primaries, recorded and unrecorded primaries | Recent advances in multiple removal”.

Since then, his work on the inverse scattering series (ISS) has made the significant leap from a conceptual advancement to an accepted practical solution, not only for multiple removal but also for other components of the seismic-processing chain like wavelet analysis and depth imaging, particularly in complex geologic environments where prior methods have not been robust. This broad application has elevated the ISS work to a major contribution to the science of exploration geophysics. In addition to these technical achievements, Weglein has been active in writing and teaching for the seismic industry. He has written many papers for Geophysics and The Leading Edge, and has coauthored books on multiple attenuation (with Bill Dragoset) and seismic imaging and inversion (with Bob Stolt). His mentorship of graduate students has led to six of his students receiving the J. Clarence Karcher Award: Kenneth Matson, Fernanda Araújo, Simon Shaw, Kristopher Innanen, Haiyan Zhang, and Bogdan Nita. Among other highly successful former students are Paulo Carvalho, Petrobras, Jose Eduardo Lira, Petrobras, Xu Li, CGG, Jinlong Yang, Sinopec, Andre Ferrera, Petrobras, Qiang Fu, Aramco, Hong Liang , Aramco Services, Zhiqiang Guo, TGS, Chao Ma, TGS, JIng Wu, Schlumberger, Zhiqiang Wang, PGS, Jingfeng Zhang, senior research scientist BP, and Kris Innanen, co-Director of Crewes , UC Calgary, Wilberth Herrrera, UT Austin, Yuchang Shen, Rice University, Jim Mayhan , Research Scientist, UH, and Adriana Citlali Ramirez, Chief Geophysicist TGS, and Fang Liu, Research Professor , UH.

Weglein Selected as Co-Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Seismic Exploration December 1, 2017

Assumes Editorship in January 2018

Arthur B. Weglein, Hugh Roy and Lillie-Cranz Cullen Distinguished University Chair in Physics, will assume responsibilities as co-editor-in-chief in January 2018. Arthur B. Weglein, Hugh Roy and Lillie-Cranz Cullen Distinguished University Chair in Physics at the University of Houston, has been selected as co-editor-in-chief for the Journal of Seismic Exploration. Weglein is a professor in the Department of Physics and in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. He will serve as co-editor-in-chief alongside Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor emeritus M. Nafi Toksöz.

His co-editorship, which will commence in January 2018, is the culmination of a 25-year involvement as a member of the journal’s editorial board.

The Journal of Seismic Exploration is dedicated to publishing “research in seismic modeling, processing, inversion, interpretation, field techniques, borehole techniques, tomography, instrumentation and software.”

With a career that has spanned both academia and industry, Weglein will bring his expertise to the journal. Weglein is the founding director of the Mission-Oriented Seismic Research Program in UH’s College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. The research consortium, supported by major oil and service companies, addresses high priority seismic exploration and production problems. Weglein is also co-author with Bob Stolt of the two-volume Cambridge University Press graduate textbook “Seismic Imaging and Inversion.”

Weglein was the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) Distinguished Lecturer in 2003. In 2008, he received the CCNY's highest honor the Townsend Harris Medal, and in 2010, the SEG Reginald Fessenden Medal for contributions to seismic exploration. In 2016, Weglein was awarded the SEG’s highest honor, the Maurice Ewing Medal.

Dr. Arthur Benjamin Weglein

Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished University Chair in Physics

Director, Mission-Oriented Seismic Research Program

Professor, Dept. of Physics, and Professor, Dept. of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Physics Department , SR1 617 University of Houston

Houston, Texas 77204-5005

Office phone 713-743-3848

E mail [email protected]

M-OSRP delivery, impact and recognition

News and update from M-OSRP: June, 2019. Arthur Weglein selected as Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Seismic Exploration

Biography Citation for the SEG Maurice Ewing Medal

by Robert H. Stolt and James D. Robertson

Our association with Art Weglein goes back nearly 40 years to when Art first entered the petroleum industry as a young researcher applying theoretical physics to seismic challenges. Art believed that the mathematics of quantum scattering theory was potentially applicable to the inverse seismic problem — an expectation fully supported by his subsequent research and mentoring of colleagues and students.

Art’s formal education culminated in a PhD in physics from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in 1975, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Texas at Dallas. He joined Cities Service in 1978 and progressed through a distinguished research career at Cities, Sohio, and ARCO including short-term appointments as a visiting professor at the Federal University of Bahia in Brazil; a visiting professor at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands; and a scientific advisor at Schlumberger Cambridge Research in the United Kingdom. In 2000, he moved to the University of Houston in Texas where he is now the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished University Chair in physics, and founder and director of the Mission-Oriented Seismic Research Program (M-OSRP).

Art has always maintained a close collaboration with both academic professionals and industry practitioners, immersing himself in the direct practical applications of his research. He is a one-person bridge between the academic and industrial worlds, routinely on the leading edge of theoretical innovations in universities while focusing new scientific insights on the immediate seismic data problems of the geophysicist exploring for and developing oil and natural gas fields. In addition to SEG’s Reginald Fessenden Award in 2010, Art was recognized in 2008 for his contributions to exploration seismology when he received the Townsend Harris Medal, the highest honor of the City College of New York and an honor previously given to numerous Nobel Laureates.

Art’s work in recent years has expanded from removal of multiples in marine seismic data to more difficult challenges: eliminating internal multiples from land seismic data in desert environments where the multiples are generated by thin discontinuous layers in the near surface; eliminating internal multiples from marine seismic data in areas of significant structural complexity caused by salt intrusion and layering; removing internal and surface multiples from land seismic data when both primary reflections and multiples are horizontal and not distinguishable by other multiple removal methods; and direct depth imaging of seismic data without requiring a velocity model to be known, estimated or determined. These advances have elevated Art’s research to a major contribution to the science of exploration geophysics.

In addition to his technical achievements, Art has made outstanding contributions to the profession of exploration geophysics through his university teaching, mentoring of students and colleagues, organizing and chairing numerous symposia and research workshops, and publishing review papers and textbooks for both graduate student and professional education. He has been the principal thesis advisor of nearly 25 PhD students at multiple universities, six of whom have received SEG’s J. Clarence Karcher Award. Art has freely disseminated his research insights in comprehensive review papers in The Leading Edge and Geophysics, and in talks at SEG Annual Meetings and as an SEG Distinguished Lecturer. He is the coauthor with one of us (Bob Stolt) of the two-volume publication on Seismic Imaging and Inversion from Cambridge University Press that is both a textbook for graduate-level geophysics courses and a reference book for seismic R&D.

Throughout his career, Art has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to good science, always delivered with lively intellectual curiosity and good humor. He is devoted to his family as well as his profession. He and his wife Chris are the proud parents of wonderful and successful children and are engaged contributors to their community outside geophysics. We are honored to provide this citation for the award of the Maurice Ewing Medal to Arthur B. Weglein.

2010 SEG Reginald Fessenden Award

Art Weglein is receiving the Reginald Fessenden Award for his influence on the seismic industry through his work in inverse scattering series. He and his colleagues and students have published widely on this topic and the result is seen in the thinking and practice in the industry today, particularly in the area of treatment of multiple reflections.

Biography Citation for the SEG Reginald Fessenden Award

Contributed by Robert H. Stolt

During the 1970s, a few theoretical physicists arrived on the seismic scene, young and naive enough to believe that the apparatus of quantum scattering theory could be applied to the inverse seismic problem. Among them was Art Weglein, who started at Cities Service in 1978 with a Ph.D. in physics from CUNY.

Art and I, among others, were fascinated with the inverse scattering series, and hopeful that it contained the key to the information hidden in seismic data. Apart from some success with the first term in the series (the so-called Born approximation), early results were discouraging. Inadequate computer power was certainly a problem, but so was faintheartedness. Art, more than anyone else, remained true to the original vision, mining the inverse scattering series for remedies to perplexing problems, including surface multiple removal, internal multiple removal, and imaging through complexity. Along the way, he has taught and mentored a number of young geophysicists, who have now taken their place as leaders in the seismic community.

In addition to working at Cities, Sohio, and ARCO, Art spent 1989–90 as a visiting professor at the Federal University of Bahia in Brazil, and 1990–94 as a scientific advisor at Schlumberger Cambridge Research in Cambridge, England. In 2000, Art joined the faculty at the University of Houston, where he now occupies the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished University Professorship in Physics. In 2003, Art visited 25 SEG Sections in six countries as SEG Distinguished Lecturer. Art is very much a theorist, though he always manages to keep a toe dipped in reality. At a time when most "research" is short term, Art's horizon is far away, though he is never without clear objectives.

His gentle humor and unwavering commitment to good science make him a joy to work with. His scientific curiosity rarely turns off, even on evenings and weekends. He and his wife Chris have nevertheless raised a fine family, and remain active and involved with contemporary affairs.

Art has generated some controversy with his velocity-independent approach to processing. Although the inverse scattering series requires an initial or "background" velocity model, the final solution is, on paper, independent of the initial model. Velocity-independent processing is not unknown within the industry, helping most people to now accept velocity-independent surface-multiple removal, many to accept velocity-independent internal multiple attenuation, and some to accept velocity-independent imaging.

Arguments against velocity-independence have been made from the inverse series itself. Convergence of the series depends on the initial model being "close", in some sense, to the final solution. Analysis of individual terms in the series requires a Feynman-like interpretation, with waves propagating in definable directions between multiple scattering points. If the background velocity differs too much from the actual velocity, this interpretation becomes questionable.

Fortunately, for a quantum field theorist, indeterminacy is not an obstacle. With the outcome far from sure, Art approached the inverse series as performing a number of discrete tasks, some of which may be isolated by confining attention to certain terms (i.e., a subseries) of the full inverse scattering series. Some of these subseries may be sensitive to the initial velocity model, but others may not. By dissecting the series, Art and his coworkers have produced a suite of useful processes while advancing substantially their understanding of the inverse seismic problem.

Where success is certain, anyone may go. Art has shown a consistent willingness to swim in deep water, and has demonstrated his ability to do so. It is an honor and a privilege to present Arthur B. Weglein for the Reginald Fessenden Award.

Spring 2003 SEG Distinguished Lecturer

A Perspective on the Evolution of Processing Seismic Primaries and Multiples for a Complex Multidimensional Earth

Seismic reflection events are typically catalogued as primary or multiple depending on whether the arriving energy at the receiver has in its history experienced one or more upward reflections, respectively. We can trace the evolution of progress and effectiveness in seismic processing by following the physics used to describe what the wave experiences between source and receiver. More realism and completeness in the physics, when applied appropriately, has an associated improvement in prediction and reduction in risk. Hence, there is alignment between providing step-change improvement in seismic capability and a central need of the petroleum industry.

We are classifying three types of step-changes in seismic processing that occur when: (1) the dimension of the physics moves up-1D to 2D, 2D to "3D", "3D" to 3D to match the dimension of subsurface variation, ("3D" here refers to current typical 3D acquisition); two other step-change types occur within a given dimension when; (2) the theory, and algorithms, for propagation and reflection are expanded to accommodate further significant, prioritized and relevant phenomena, (e.g., including rapid lateral heterogeneous velocity variations and curved, dipping, and diffractive reflectors) ,and; the language and associated mathematics for describing the experiences and history of the recorded wave-field allows for coding and decoding (i.e., processing), or raveling and unraveling, in terms of approximate achievable rather than inaccessible precise subsurface information. It is much simpler to provide a precise description of an event in terms of accurate rather than approximate subsurface information-and the former is the assumption behind Stages (1), (2) and (3) of seismic processing evolution (see Table below). The problem is that if the forward description is e.g., in terms of actual velocity, the reverse or processing of those events within that picture requires actual velocity, as well. While the precise description of events in terms of approximate information is more complicated, and, hence, the processing algorithms more computer intensive, the benefits can be not only cost-effective, but essential and indicated for effective processing- especially under complex geologic conditions. The latter description currently provides the conceptual framework behind the prediction and subtraction of free-surface and internal multiples with only reflection data and no subsurface information whatsoever; and, in addition, the promise and conceptual possibility for providing accurate processing objectives from primaries, that is, accurate imaging in space (depth) and inversion for earth properties--directly in terms of approximate achievable rather than ideal inaccessible subsurface information.


The first two step-change types listed above lead to Stages 1,2 and 3 in the Table. Step-change type 3 leads to Stage 4 in the evolution of seismic processing.

The first three evolutionary stages represent progress in dimension, and/or physics model and predictability and has a concomitant increased demand on subsurface information, and completeness of acquisition and computer time and cost. For example, the modeling and subtraction of 2D ocean bottom multiples is both more accurate (for a 2D water bottom) and demanding of ocean bottom information and computer time, than a 1D counterpart. Moving from time migration to depth migration (within a given dimension) is both more accurate and more demanding of an accurate velocity model and computer power.

The requirements on adequate velocity information to achieve adequate imaging can be an unattainable demand under complex geologic conditions, e.g., sub-salt, sub-basalt and sub-karsted sediments, and has caused our current leading-edge imaging techniques, which are all Stage 3 on this evolutionary scale, to often produce sub-optimal, unacceptable or misleading results.

Stage 4 in evolution requires the language jump and associated processing for primaries and multiples described in step-change (3). The promise of Stage 4 in the evolution of processing is to relax the demand on subsurface information for processing multiples/primaries, especially under complex geologic conditions, without lowering our processing objectives, broaden the 3D physics of propagation and reflection, but at increased demands on the definition, (e.g., the source signature) and completeness of acquisition, and higher computer costs. The practical significance of the step to Stage 4 processing is hard to exaggerate. It represents an empowerment, where those willing to pay more (for acquisition and compute time) have the opportunity to achieve more. In contrast, if you have a Stage 1, 1D demultiple algorithm, no amount of money and increased acquisition will allow it to accommodate a diffraction. Similarly, if your velocity model is inadequate-money and acquisition won't impress a Stage 3 imaging algorithm to cooperate or to be sympathetic to your dilemma of finding an accurate image in space. The transition from Stage 3 to Stage 4 represents a shift in responsibility for providing detailed subsurface information upwards to the surface of the earth where acquisition and complex algorithms with higher computer costs allow intelligence and money to directly impact effectiveness. Computers get faster and cheaper. Furthermore, the added costs pale in comparison to the economic risks, potential benefit and technical challenges, e.g., in deep-water E&P.

The attenuation of free surface and internal multiples are at Stage 4 in evolution; the current leading edge imaging and inversion algorithms for primaries are at Stage 3. The next big step is to bring imaging and inversion to Stage 4,and thereby raise overall seismic empowerment. We know that bringing multiples to Stage 4 wasn't easy, and considerable conceptual and practical hurdles were faced and overcome; we anticipate that in bringing primaries to Stage 4 we will face higher hurdles yet, but the research efforts are underway, and enthusiasm, courage, and the sense of adventure are on our side.


Dr. Arthur Benjamin Weglein Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished University Chair in Physics Director, Mission-Oriented Seismic Research Program Professor, Dept. of Physics, and Professor, Dept. of Earth and Atmospheric  Sciences Physics Department , SR1 617 University of Houston Houston, Texas 77204-5005 E mail [[1]]