Roy Oliver Lindseth

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Roy Oliver Lindseth
Roy O. Lindseth headshot.jpg
President year 1976-1977

Roy Oliver Lindseth is a geophysicist who made prestigious contributions to the practice and profession of exploration geophysics, as well as being an industry leader, over a period of more than 60 years. Roy was born in Calgary and began his career in 1944 with United Geophysical Company. He pioneered work in digital signal processing. His book Digital Signal Processing was the text of choice for many years and used extensively in SEG’s Continuing Education program. He invented seismic techniques to aid interpretation of subsurface lithology for delineation of hydrocarbon reservoirs and built a successful company around this technology.

Mr. Lindseth was the 1976-1977 SEG President.

Biography Citation for the Maurice Ewing Medal 2007

Contributed by Norman Crook

Roy Lindseth’s sixty-plus-year career in exploration geophysics has included more phases of our profession than anyone else I know. He has done seismic data gathering in harsh areas from the jungles of Venezuela to the subzero temperatures of northwestern Alberta. He has done geologic interpretation using novel approaches to solve complex problems, and he has done seismic data processing from its infancy to recent times (he once programmed a complete set of processing programs for an early digital computer).

He founded four companies, selling services to the exploration industry from low-tech (clearing seismic lines) to high tech (sophisticated processing and interpretation techniques). He has been personally involved in the technology of his enterprises as well as their business activities. He invented many of the techniques used by his companies including Seislogs (one of the earliest forms of seismic inversion) and methods for automating the use of color to help evaluate subsurface lithologies.

Roy and Teknica, a company he founded, have been leaders in moving geophysical exploration beyond its original emphasis on structural interpretation to computerassisted interpretation of stratigraphy and reservoir delineation. From his native Canada, Roy moved into international exploration in the early days of his career. He has subsequently participated in 140 exploration and development projects in 40 countries concentrating in Latin America, North Africa, and the North Sea. He is well known and respected in petroleum circles both in industry and in governments around the world, particularly in Latin America.

Roy’s curiosity about technical things and his interest in people have led him to remain professionally active long after the time when most people retire. In recent years, he has moved into activities that include things beyond normal exploration geophysics. He has managed major projects for Pemex in Mexico to evaluate and improve gas operations, and for TransCanada International in northern Latin America to establish business, political, regulatory, and social relationships related to their pipeline and power operations. In recognition of his knowledge of computer-related things, he was asked to serve as president of Canada’s National Supercomputer Center for a time in the early 1990s.

Roy has been exemplary in giving back to his profession and to society as a whole. As enumerated above, he has served as president of several major scientific organizations including SEG, and he has received many honors. He has spent uncounted hours working on major boards and committees, both scientific and civic. Early in his career he realized the importance of sharing his expertise with others through publishing papers, writing a book, and teaching SEG continuing education courses around the world.

I served on the SEG Executive Committee in 1976–1977 when Roy was President and got to know him as a leader willing to listen to others and one having great respect for his fellow human beings, no matter what their status in life. He is modest about his own achievements and is quick to give credit to others.

Roy has stories to tell that match the saltiest of old time geophysicists, like negotiating with Colombian rebels at gunpoint, or being thrown into a South American jail over a permit problem. Roy is more likely to applaud the stories of others than to push his own. He is always considerate, interested in others, and a perfect gentleman.

Those of us who knew Roy’s late wife, Lucy, will always remember her contributions to the geophysical profession and the spice she added to our meetings. She could tell many of their stories better than Roy. We loved Lucy.

Using his great skill in judging human nature and picking winners, Roy now has another wonderful partner, Dorys, who has adopted his geophysical colleagues with her own grace and charm.

The Honors and Awards Committee and the Executive Committee have picked another very distinguished recipient for the 2007 Maurice Ewing Medal.


An additional biography may be found here:

  • Proubasta, D. (1987). ”ROY O. LINDSETH.” The Leading Edge, 6(4), 8–14.[1]

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Roy Oliver Lindseth
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