Simon Spitz

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Simon Spitz
Simon Spitz headshot.png
Membership Life Member


SEG is honoring Simon Spitz with Life Membership for his longtime involvement with the SEG and EAGE research committees, for helping to organize numerous SEG/EAGE research workshops around the world, and for his ongoing efforts to foster cooperation between SEG and EAGE. Simon has also submitted numerous technical articles to virtually every publication of both SEG and EAGE, including GEOPHYSICS, TLE, First Break, and Geophysical Prospecting.


Biography Citation for SEG Life Membership

Contributed by Bill Barkhouse


Simon Spitz is the epitome of a global geophysicist. Fluent in five languages, he was born in Romania, earned a doctorate in Belgium, and developed a passion for geophysics in Italy. He has lived and worked in France, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Oman, and traveled to virtually every corner of the globe in connection with his work with CGG and his involvement with SEG and EAGE. As a member of both organizations, Simon has been tireless and influential in advocating intersociety cooperation and collaboration. At a time when half of SEG’s membership is outside the United States, his leadership and service have been vital.

A partial list of Simon’s accomplishments shows his vision, love of community, and ability to lead by example. These include:

• Technical Program cochair of both Istanbul ’97 and the SEGEAGE Summer Research Workshop in Vail ’97;

• Organization or co-organization of more than six SEG Research Committee workshops;

• Technical cochair of Rio ’99;

• Chair of the EAGE Geophysical Division (1999-2000) and “father” of the EAGE Research Committee;

• Technical cochair of the SEG-EAGE SRW Boise 2000;

• Member of the organizing committees of Caracas 2000 and Bucharest 2000;

• Convenor of a General Symposium at the 31st Annual Geological Congress;

• Member of the organizing committee of the SEG-EAGE SRW Trieste 2003;

• Cochair of SEG’s Distinguished Instructor Short Course;

• Member of SEG's Global Affairs Committee.

I’ve often traveled with Simon and always found this enriching. On many long flights, I have been in awe of Simon’s passion for geophysics—while others sleep. He invariably has a few sheets of mathematics in his briefcase, and will argue for hours, with the likes of a Brian Russell, about the nuances of a geophysical idea. In Simon’s company, I have learned that anything in geophysics is worthy of exploration.

This is not to imply that geophysics is Simon’s only interest; far from it. During Bucharest 2000, Simon invited colleagues to visit his childhood neighborhood where a childhood friend yelled greetings from a fourth floor apartment. Simon followed this special moment at a nearby “cemetery of poets” where he described the European culture of learning and academics, using each interred poet to illustrate. We, his colleagues, were spellbound. The evening culminated in dinner and great wine at a restaurant that had been converted from an old church.

Simon’s scientific prowess rests on a solid academic and professional foundation that includes a PhD in nuclear physics from the University of Brussels. He entered geophysics in 1978 in the field of magnetotellurics and joined CGG’s R&D division in 1982. His 21 years with CGG have included service as chief scientist and technical officer. Simon is well known for work in multiples attenuation and pioneering work in extending the spatial bandwidth of seismic data. During the past decade, Simon’s interpolation approach became standard in processing flows. His more than 50 research papers include 37 in GEOPHYSICS, Geophysical Prospecting and THE LEADING EDGE. He frequently lectures at universities around the world.

In his personal life, Simon adores his beautiful wife and daughter, loves good literature and good wine, and is keenly interested in the world around him. As our profession becomes increasingly global in nature, it is fitting that the Society bestows Life Membership on such a dedicated, forward-thinking, and truly international geophysicist. We look forward to many more years of marvelous contributions. Thank you, Simon, for successfully leading us forward in this rapidly changing world. Of course, I know Simon’s reply will be a simple, “I just want to be a geophysicist.”