Spyros Lazaratos

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Spyros Lazaratos
Spyros K. Lazaratos headshot.png
PhD university Stanford University

SEG Best Paper Presented at the Annual Meeting Award 2012 [1]

Partha S. Routh, Gopal Palacharla, Ivan Chikichev, Spyros Lazaratos received 2012 SEG Best Paper Presented at the Annual Meeting Award for their paper Full wavefield inversion of time-lapse data for improved imaging and reservoir characterization.

Biography Citation for the J. Clarence Karcher Award 1997[2]

Contrbuted by James W. Rector

Spyros Lazaratos is being honored as the 1997 recipient of the Clarence Karcher Award for his seminal contributions to crosswell seismic imaging. To my knowledge he is the first Greek to be honored with a major award by the SEG, and he represents the internationalization of the Society. Spyros' career in geophysics began in 1987 as a Ph.D. student at Stanford after receiving a diploma in electrical engineering from the National Technical University of Athens and a master of science in electrical engineering from Princeton where he studied optimization theory. His academic achievements can probably be traced to the tutoring of his wife, Niki, whom he met in college and who also attended Princeton. Niki was also the first one in the family to receive a geophysics degree from Stanford, completing a M.S. (and giving birth to daughter Veni).

Like many graduate students at Stanford, Spyros spent his first few years sampling diverse research topics. He performed laboratory experiments in seismic anisotropy and wrote some of the first Gaussian Beam migration algorithms. Spyros' studies took a critical turn in 1989 when he joined the Seismic Tomography Project headed by Professor Jerry Harris. Jerry came to Stanford from BP research a few years earlier and was in the process of forming a research group in crosswell seismology. Spyros and Reinaldo Michelena (now at Intevep) were Jerry's first students. I was fortunate enough to join this group in 1990 at a time when Spyros was beginning to investigate the use of reflection arrivals to image the interwell region. Jerry had written extensively on diffraction tomography, and he was convinced that reflection arrivals could add substantial information to the interwell region.

While the advantages of using reflection imaging are obvious today, there was a period of time in the 1980s when some leading scientists argued publicly that reflections could not be observed or utilized in crosswell seismic data. Spyros and I processed some data that Jerry had collected at the BP Devine test site, and Spyros came up with a remarkable reflection section that showed response from beds as thin as 1m. Spyros gained a great deal of physical intuition about the crosswell reflection process from this work, and received a Best Student Paper award in 1991.

Capitalizing on this research, Spyros turned his attention to a complete crosswell data set recorded at Chevron's Mcelroy field. He developed comprehensive reflection imaging and image analysis algorithms from this data set, and his work formed the basis for several papers, two of which received best paper awards. Spyros' Ph.D. thesis still sits on my desk as one of my critical references for crosswell imaging. (As a side-note, Spyros did most of this ground-breaking work while Niki was back in Greece. Even so, Spyros and Niki found the time to have a second daughter, Elena.)

Spyros' thesis work was one of the key factors used in forming TomoSeis Corporation and he has served as the chief geophysicist of TomoSeis from its founding. In this role Spyros has led the development of methods for crosswell tomography and reflection imaging and implemented much of the software used by TomoSeis for data processing. He has processed or supervised the processing of more than fifty crosswell profiles and he has continued his prolific publishing on aspects of crosswell seismic imaging.

Given his professional accomplishments at such an early age, one would expect to meet a somewhat introspective "nerd." However, Spyros is a dynamic, fun, interesting person with a terrific sense of humor. He is also an accomplished writer and speaker, particularly for someone who is a non-native English speaker.

Life in a small start-up can be quite difficult because there are few colleagues and peers against which to judge your accomplishments. The Clarence Karcher Award gives Spyros deserved recognition for his truly outstanding accomplishments as a young geophysicist.

Best Paper in Geophysics Award 1995

Larry R. Lines, Henry Tan, Sven Treitel, John Beck, Richard L. Chambers, John Eager, Charles Savage, John Queen, William D. Rizer, Paul L. Buller, V. Dale Cox, John B. Sinton, James H. Ballard, George F. Kokkoros, Antoine Track, Philippe Guerendel, Jerry Harris, Spyros K. Lazaratos, and Mark A. Van Schaack received the 1995 SEG Best Paper in Geophysics Award for their paper Integrated reservoir characterization: Beyond tomography.[3]

Honorable Mention (Geophysics) 1995

Jerry M. Harris, Richard C. Nolen-Hocksema, Robert T. Langan, Mark A. Van Schaack, Spyros K. Lazaratos, and James W. Rector III received 1995 Honorable Mention (Geophysics) for their paper High-resolution crosswell imaging of a west Texas carbonate reservoir: Part 1 - Project summary and interpretation.[4]


  1. Honors and Awards Program 2013 SEG Annual meeting, 4:30–5:30 p.m., Sunday 22 September 2013 George R. Brown Convention Centerm Level 3, George Bush Grand Ballroom, Houston, Texas USA p. 43
  2. 1997 SEG Annual Meeting, SEG Honors and Awards Program
  3. Lines, L. et. al. (1995), Integrated reservoir characterization: Beyond tomography GEOPHYSICS 60(2):354.
  4. Harris, J. M., et al. (1995) High-resolution crosswell imaging of a west Texas carbonate reservoir: Part 1 - Project summary and interpretation, GEOPHYSICS 60(3):667.