Augustinus Berkhout

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Augustinus Berkhout
A. J. Berkhout headshot.png
PhD Physics
PhD university Delft University

Augustinus (Guus) J. Berkhout is a geophysicist who has made significant contributions to the fields of exploration geophysics and acoustics. Guus’pioneering vision on the integrated nature of the use of wave equation techniques from seismic exploration through reservoir engineering was instrumental to driving research and development in the late 1970s even through the present. Guus began the industry-supported Delphi project at Delft University 25 years ago—a project that is still going strong. Over that period of time, he has supervised more than 150 MS and nearly 50 PhD students. Many of these students are now key figures in the exploration geophysics field. Additionally, Guus has been a dedicated and tireless volunteer in numerous committees and conferences.

Biography Citation for the Maurice Ewing Medal 2003

Contributed by Tury Taner and Panos Kelamis

This year we honor Professor A. J. Berkhout, better known to friends and colleagues as “Guus,” with the well deserved Maurice Ewing Gold Medal, the highest international award in exploration geophysics.

Early Years and Education

Guus has been a major force who has innervated the geophysical business through the years. He was born in The Netherlands and received his formal education at Delft University of Technology (MSc in electrical engineering and PhD in physics, cum laude). After completing his military service in the Dutch Royal Navy Academy, he joined Shell in 1964 where he held several international positions in R&D and technology transfer.

Professional Career

Guus’s academic life started in 1976, when he accepted a chair at Delft, his alma mater, in geophysical and acoustical imaging. At Delft he founded the DELPHI research consortium—one of the most successful industry-supported research programs and which is still going strong under his leadership. Since then he has been appointed to many prestigious positions, including scientific director of the Center of Technical Geosciences and president-research of the Executive Board of the Technical University of Delft. Guus has cofounded a number of companies—such as Delft Geophysical, Jason Geosystems, and Acoustical Control Systems. The latter manufactures and markets his invention on variable acoustics in concert halls. He has been scientific advisor to many organizations such as the Dutch research organization TNO, GeoQuest, and Geco-Prakla.

His impact on geophysical exploration became prominent with the introduction of the WRW model, a unique multilevel, conceptual model for seismic wave propagation. Indeed, WRW has been and continues to serve as a basic platform for technological achievements in our industry.

Later Career

Additional achievements include recursive seismic migration in terms of lateral convolution, the feedback loop for prediction and removal of multiple scattering, the concept of common focus point (CFP) technology for bifocal and cross-focal imaging, and more recently the transformation of multiple scattering into primary reflections. His new thinking and paradigm shift from model-driven to data-driven methods have resulted in the operator approach to seismic data processing and analysis, a powerful vehicle for describing complex geologic situations without prior knowledge. A large number of algorithms, now commercially used in oil and gas exploration, can be traced to the vision and ideas introduced by Guus Berkhout. He is a frequent speaker at international conferences and meetings and has written several hundred papers and many books in the field of geophysics and innovation. Another major accomplishment is the large number of young, well educated and trained geophysicists that he nurtured all these years—so far more than 150 MSc and 50 PhD students have studied under his direct supervision. In addition, many geophysicists all over the world have attended his inspiring public and in-house courses on seismic imaging and resolution.

Since the early 1990s, Guus has also concentrated on matters related to innovation policy. In 1997, he was invited by the OECD to advise on science and technology issues. In 2001, he became a member of the “High Level Working Group” which offers guidance to the European Commission on the establishment of an integrated innovation policy in the EU. Guus recently chaired a committee of experts that advised the Dutch government on regulating noise problems around Schiphol airport in an innovative way.


Professor Berkhout is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts & Sciences (KNAW), The Netherlands Academy of Engineering (NFTW), and an honorary member of SEG. He also serves on a number of governing boards in the scientific and business communities. On behalf of all SEG members, we express our sincere congratulations to Professor Berkhout, and we look forward to more creative and innovative concepts from him.

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Augustinus Berkhout
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