Dario Grana

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

SEG Outstanding Educator Award 2022

Dario Grana is a professor and Wyoming Excellence Chair at the University of Wyoming. He has been an associate editor of Geophysics. His work includes studies on rock physics, seismic inversion, geostatistics, and reservoir characterization. He has taught a wide range of geophysics topics at the University of Wyoming as well as industry courses with the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers, the Brazilian Geophysical Society, Eni, and Hess Corporation. He has supervised some 10 graduate students, published about 70 peer-reviewed papers, and delivered many technical presentations. One nominator said, “Dr. Grana’s contributions to teaching geophysics across the undergraduate and graduate levels; quality in geophysics education; commitment to advising and mentoring; and exceptional dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts make him a truly inspiring figure. His efforts have contributed not only to the advancing of geophysics within our department and on our campus but also in the broader scientific community.”

Biography Citation for the Outstanding Educator Award

by Mingliang Liu and Mohit Ayani

Dario Grana is one of the most well-known geoscientists for rock physics and seismic reservoir characterization. His work is highly cited, and his publications have had a large impact on the scientific community. At the beginning of our PhD study, we were slightly intimidated by his scientific stature, but we soon discovered a fantastic human being with whom students feel very comfortable discussing scientific problems as well as academic issues. After several years at the University of Wyoming as PhD students, we can state that Dario is an inspiration in science, a mentor, and most of all a friend. We believe that his credentials meet all the educational qualities and contributions that the SEG Outstanding Educator Award requires.

In nine years at the University of Wyoming, Dario has taught hundreds of students. His pedagogical approach has three main focuses: (1) teaching graduate students the fundamentals and the state of the art of rock physics, geostatistics, and seismic reservoir characterization, which reflect Dario’s main research interests; (2) educating undergraduate and graduate students on mathematical methods for subsurface modeling and strengthening the mathematical skills and abilities of students in geosciences; and (3) promoting diversity, equity, and inclusivity in geoscience, which is historically one of the least diverse STEM fields. Dario also offered summer classes for precollegiate high school programs at Stanford University and the University of Wyoming with the goal of promoting geosciences and mathematics among the future generations of college students.

Dario has had an outstanding impact on the geophysics education programs at the University of Wyoming and all over the world thanks to his classes, invited lectures and seminars, and publications, including his recent textbook Seismic Reservoir Modeling, published with Tapan Mukerji (Stanford University) and Phillipe Doyen (formerly CGG). Dario is well known in the scientific community for his short courses for professional associations and industry and for his lectures on rock physics, seismic inversion, and reservoir characterization. He is an excellent communicator and constantly interacts with the audience during and after his lectures.

Dario is recognized as an exceptional advisor and mentor for undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. He is always willing to help his students and collaborators. This quality reflects at all levels, from undergraduate advising to postdoctoral scholarship mentoring. He has established himself as a great inspiration for future generations of geoscientists. His classes, seminars, lectures, presentations, publications, and books will be the pillars of reservoir characterization studies for many young geophysicists. His leadership and example will be a driving force for many students and researchers in our community. His effort to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion is also laudable. Dario is currently leading a seminar series on diversity in geosciences to discuss proactive ideas to improve the inclusivity and safety of our workplace and scientific community.

In summary, Dario is an exceptional teacher, a fantastic advisor, and a prominent researcher. His research is always well received and appreciated by colleagues and students. After contacting multiple students and collaborators for this nomination, we came to realize how many lives Dario has touched in his career and the impact he has had on the next generation of geophysicists thanks to his inspirational knowledge and teaching abilities. Dario is certainly one of the best educators in our geophysics community.

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.