Stewart Levin

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SEG Special Commendation 2014 [1]

Steward A. Levin is receiving the SEG Special Commendation in recognition of his expertise in data formats, and in particular with his work on the SEG Technical Standards Committee, including the development of new revisions to the SEG-2, SEG-Y, and SEG-D seismic data formats.

Biography Citation for SEG Special Commendation 2014

Contributed by Jon Claerbout

A mathematician by training with an A.B. from Princeton and M.S. from Stanford and a research geophysicist by profession with a Ph.D. from Stanford and work at Western Geophysical, Mobil Oil, and Halliburton, Stewart Levin has led a professional and personal life characterized by clarity, simplicity, and elegance. A consummate team member, he is the go-to person for all things (including taxes) because he reads manuals from cover to cover.

For more than three decades, he has repeatedly helped worldwide colleagues and customers tackle the challenges of reading and understanding geophysical data formats at oil companies, contractors, and universities. It was natural, almost inevitable, that he would take a strong interest in understanding and clarifying SEG technical standards and would volunteer to join the SEG Technical Standards Committee in its efforts to do just that for SEG-2, SEG-Y and, as the SEG Special Commendation cites, SEG-D.

Stewart’s many dozens of geophysical presentations, publications, and patents have been complemented by his seemingly inexhaustible capacity for supporting others in their endeavors, whether editing papers and presentations, developing software and fixing bugs, or providing guidance and a sympathetic ear to new students and employees.  At Stanford, where we now share an office, he serves as a graduate student adviser in the Department of Geophysics and is also a volunteer premajor adviser to about a dozen freshman and sophomores.

It is my distinct honor to have written this citation for the recipient of the 1998 Claerbout Bolo Tie award for behind-the-scenes contributions to the health and viability of the Stanford Exploration Project. Congratulations, Stewart, on your Special Commendation from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists. The Society looks forward to your continued efforts to expand and align SEG Technical Standards, while students at Stanford look forward to your continued assistance of all kinds.


  1. SEG Honors and Awards Ceremony in Official Program and Exhibitors Directory, SEG Denver 26-31 October 2014 p.36-49.