Dario Grana

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Dario Grana
Dario Grana color headshot.jpg
PhD university Stanford University

SEG J. Clarence Karcher Award 2016 [1]

Dario Grana is an assistant professor at the University of Wyoming. He received his Ph.D. in Geophysics from Stanford University in 2013. He has published 15 peer-reviewed papers on rock physics and seismic reservoir characterization as first author. Moreover, he has contributed to several other peer-reviewed publications and conference proceedings. He is coauthor with Jack Dvorkin and Mario Gutierrez on the book "Seismic reflections of rock properties" published in 2014. Grana has been previously recognized with the prestigious Eni Award in 2014 together with Tapan Mukerji, Gary Mavko and Jack Dvorkin, as well as with awards by EAGE, SPE, Stanford University, and University of Wyoming.

Biography Citation for the SEG J. Clarence Karcher Award 2016

By Jack P. Dvorkin

Dario Grana is a classically educated Italian mathematician with an international reputation whom I have been lucky to have as my doctoral student and coauthor. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics from the University of Pavia, and then a master’s in applied mathematics from the University of Milano. I met him first when he was employed by Eni, as we jointly worked on a pore-pressure prediction project. He took me by surprise when he inquired about the possibility of coming to Stanford as a doctoral candidate. From his competence and analytical skills, I concluded, without asking, that he was already a PhD. Dario’s years at the Stanford Rock Physics Project were prolific in discoveries and publications, but brief — he completed and defended his dissertation in a record three years! Dario is a mathematical statistician at heart, yet he fully appreciates the deterministic nature of the rock-physics experiment and has uniquely positioned himself to merge deterministic rock-physics principles with the stochastic appearance of sedimentation and geology.

Dario’s work has focused on probabilistic methods for reservoir characterization based on seismic data and constrained by deterministic well data and rock-physics principles. Mathematically, these are inverse problems designed to map the rock properties in 3D as well as to assess the production-related temporal changes of the pore pressure and fluid content. All applications developed in Dario’s work rest on a solid foundation of mathematics and physics. In particular, his main work has focused on inverse problems for reservoir characterization and uncertainty quantification. His main mathematical contribution in geophysics is in the domain of Bayesian statistics where he developed inversion techniques based on Gaussian mixture models. Dario integrated the analytical results obtained for Gaussian mixture models with stochastic methodologies for reservoir properties estimation and simulation, such as Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm and probability perturbation method. He has also used well-known statistical methods to estimate uncertainty in common geophysical problems such as pore-pressure prediction and well log analysis.

During his Stanford years, and following graduation, Dario has produced an impressive publication list that includes papers in Geophysics, Geophysical Prospecting, Mathematical Geosciences, The Leading Edge, First Break, Journal of Applied Geophysics, and Interpretation. According to Google Scholar, his paper "Probabilistic petrophysical-properties estimation integrating statistical rock physics with seismic inversion" (Geophysics, 2010) received almost 100 citations in five years. Dario is also coauthor of the book "Seismic Reflections of Rock Properties," published by Cambridge University Press in 2014. His many presentations at domestic and international conferences have further established him as a world-class scientist and science communicator.

Dario’s reach into science is not only deep but also wide. He does not shy away from addressing problems that are outside of geostatistics. One example is his recent publication “Probabilistic approach to rock physics modeling” (Geophysics, 2014). In this work, he masterfully merges deterministic rock physics with the concept of generalized functions to show how to analytically assess the uncertainty in rock-physics model predictions. I view this work as a basic science installment into a potentially new direction in rock physics. Dario is a successful educator, both in his professor role at the University of Wyoming and as a professional short-course instructor at international conferences and in the industry. He has also continuously taught mathematics at the Stanford summer school. Dario’s success has been recognized by a number of professional honors and awards, including the EAGE Gustavo Sclocchi Award (2013); the Stanford Centennial Teaching Award (2013); and the Eni New Frontiers of Hydrocarbon Award (2014). This SEG J. Clarence Karcher Award crowns the initial stage of an outstanding career of a top-tier scientist, thinker, and educator.

Biography 2018

Dario Grana is an associate professor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Wyoming. He received a MS in Mathematics at University of Pavia (Italy) in 2005, a MS in Applied Mathematics at University of Milano Bicocca (Italy) in 2006, and a Ph.D. in Geophysics at Stanford University in 2013. He worked four years at Eni Exploration and Production in Milan. He joined the University of Wyoming in 2013. He is coauthor of the book ‘Seismic Reflections of Rock Properties’, published by Cambridge University Press in 2014. He is the recipient of the 2017 EAGE Van Weelden Award, the 2016 SEG Karcher Award, and the 2015 Best Paper Award in Mathematical Geosciences. His main research interests are rock physics, seismic reservoir characterization, geostatistics, data-assimilation and inverse problems for subsurface modeling.


  1. SEG Honors and Awards Ceremony, SEG Dallas 18 October 2016, Omni Dallas Hotel, Dallas Ballroom, International Exposition and Eighty-Sixth Annual Meeting, Dallas, Tx, p, 10.