David Lumley

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David Lumley
David Lumley headshot.jpg
PhD university Stanford University


David Lumley is noted for his pioneering work in the area of 4D seismic monitoring.


Biography Citation for the J. Clarence Karcher Award

Contributed by Jon Claerbout


David E. Lumley received his bachelor's and master's degrees in geophysics in 1986 and 1989, respectively, from the University of British Columbia. He completed his Ph.D. in geophysics from Stanford University in the fall of 1995. He is currently employed at Chevron's research lab.

I know David Lumley as his Ph.D. thesis supervisor at Stanford. Although age 35 at the time of receiving the Karcher Award, David is already widely known for being a good speaker. While at UBC, he won SEG's student technical paper competition in 1989. It was delightful to have him as a student because his presentations set such a high standard for other students to meet.

Although David is most widely known for his outstanding presentations, I admire him most for his ability to listen. Presenters at our lab always had to contend with several challenging questions from David. David's ability to listen well soon brought him into meaningful working relationships with a wide variety of people (who offered me suggestions for this citation). Perhaps the best summary came from Dave Nichols, a former fellow student, who writes, "During the time I worked with David, I found that he is a complete scientist. He is not only able to identify a good idea, but he also has the energy and thoroughness to carry a project through to completion, and the ability to communicate the results to others."

Christine Ecker, a Stanford student working on gas hydrates, writes, "David was always very helpful and supportive."

Wafik Beydoun of Elf writes, "David has an interest and ability in all aspects of reservoir geophysics, ranging from field data analysis to theoretical model development. One of the striking things about him is his capacity for getting things done."

Jack Dvorkin, a rock physicist, writes "In 1993, David Lumley and I coordinated one of the first feasibility studies in time-lapse (4-D) seismic monitoring. Expecting to deal with a student, I was pleasantly surprised to find David an accomplished scientist, engineer, and responsible worker. He not only demonstrates full knowledge of rock physics, but also a knack to use it to the point."

Within the Stanford Exploration Project group, David was always quick to recognize and move onto opportunities. David seized the opportunity to work with Mobil's AVO challenge data set and focused a team effort with his fellow students (and faculty) that came up with innovative ideas and approaches to processing and analyzing the data. These included high-resolution velocity filtering for multiple suppression, surface-consistent weighting and wavelet decomposition for source and receiver balancing, reflectivity estimation by prestack migration, and estimation of AVO by means of multiple prediction.

David's interests include enhancing image resolution and dynamic amplitude information from 3-D seismic data, and relating seismic parameters to physical properties in order to estimate subsurface lithology, pore-fluid content, and physical states related to pressure and temperature fields.

His Ph.D. research has helped forge a new research direction in time-lapse seismic monitoring of subsurface fluid flow. This work integrates the physics of fluid flow, rock physics, and seismic wave propagation in a single goal: to detect and monitor physical changes in the subsurface due to fluid-flow processes, by analyzing repeated surface seismic data surveys.

David is interested in promoting an industry-academic consortium to further research in seismic monitoring of fluid-flow processes. If you cruise the Web, he has a worthwhile presentation at http://sepwww.stanford.edu/oldsep/david/.

David is actively involved in collaborative research between geophysics and petroleum engineering. In that respect he is the best student I have seen in 20 years.