Jack Dvorkin

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Jack Dvorkin
Jack Dvorkin headshot.jpg
Membership Honorary Member
PhD university Moscow State University

SEG Honorary Membership 2014 [1]

Jack P. Dvorkin contributes to our profession through his research and teaching a foundational understanding of rock physics. He is a pioneer in rock-physics transforms, allowing the industry to predict the seismic response of different reservoir conditions. Worldwide practitioners make use of his “contact-cement model,” “stiff-sand model,” and “soft-sand model” in understanding seismic signatures of clastic rocks.

Biography Citation for SEG Honorary Membership 2014

Contributed by Gary Mavko and Amos Nur

Jack Dvorkin is richly deserving of SEG Honorary Membership in recognition of his many and distinguished contributions to rock physics for geophysical exploration and reservoir characterization.

After earning graduate degrees in continuum mechanics from the Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics of Moscow University, Jack began his research career at the Moscow Research Oil and Gas Institute and the Moscow Offshore Oil Institute. He joined the Stanford Rock Physics Laboratory in 1989, and since then has been a leader in advancing the use of rock physics for quantitative modeling and interpretation of geophysical data for exploration geophysics, reservoir characterization, and time-lapse monitoring.

Many of Jack’s contributions have emerged from his unique ability to derive and demonstrate practical quantitative tools, distilled from rigorous physical concepts and applied to the tremendous complexity of reservoir rocks and sediments. He never shies away from difficult problems, and at the same time, he never forgets that models must be robust and simple to survive the rigors of use in the field.

Jack pioneered the techniques of rock-physics diagnostics, which allow geophysicists to establish rigorous rock-physics transforms, based on well-log and/or laboratory data. These enable prediction of the seismic response of reservoir scenarios, from which seismic data can be interpreted in terms of the underlying rock and fluid properties and conditions of temperature and stress.

He introduced widely used tools such as the “contact-cement model,” the “stiff-sand model,” and the “soft-sand model,” which have become industry standards for understanding the seismic signatures of clastic rocks. He was one of the first to demonstrate useful P- and S-wave impedance models for gas hydrates. Along with Joel Walls and Gary Mavko, Jack led development of the first comprehensive commercial software package for rock physics.

Jack has been instrumental in establishing the viability of computational rock physics as a 21st-century virtual laboratory for rock properties over a broad range of geologic scales. He has written more than 140 papers, most of them published in Geophysics and The Leading Edge. With Gary Mavko and Tapan Mukerji, Jack coauthored The Rock Physics Handbook (first and second editions), which has played a tremendous role in making rock-physics technology accessible to both academia and industry. Jack is also the lead author of a new book, Seismic Reflections of Rock Properties, which appeared this year, with Mario A. Gutierrez and Dario Grana as coauthors.

Jack has a gift for teaching others how to participate fully in the scientific exploration process. His depth of knowledge in geophysics and related topics and his accomplishments as a scientist are tremendous. He can draw on these to support and guide students as they face the challenges of defining and then conducting Ph.D.-level research. Jack’s insights and patience provide students with support and confidence. His exceptional abilities as a scientist and his exceptional qualities as an individual make him a great teacher. He has trained and mentored more than 20 Ph.D. students, most of whom have taken leadership roles in the oil and gas industry. Jack has also taught SEG continuing education courses in rock physics and has advised and trained geophysicists from six continents.

He shared the 2014 ENI New Frontiers of Hydrocarbons — Upstream Prize with Tapan Mukerji, Gary Mavko, and Dario Grana

We are very fortunate to have Jack as a friend, as a colleague in exploration geophysics, and as an SEG member.


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