Mrinal K. Sen, UTIG Associate director, professor, and Jackson Chair in Applied Seismology, will be recognized with the Virgil Kauffman Gold Medal from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) at their annual meeting in October.
The award is presented to the person who in the unanimous opinion of the SEG Honors and Awards Committee and the Board of Directors has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of the science of geophysical exploration in the last five years..
“It is a pleasant surprise and quite an honor,” Sen said. He was nominated by his peers for his work in seismic wave propagation.
Over the last five years he and his students focused on developing methods for building starting models for use in full wave form inversion and uncertainty quantification, and the modeling of seismic wave propagation in fractured media. These models have applications in oil and gas exploration and production.
“There were some limitations in the existing methods,” explained Sen. “In earlier methods it was difficult to put discrete fractured networks in so there was a serious computational bottleneck.”
The new models developed by Sen’s group use more detailed information instead of average properties, resulting in a more detailed picture of the reservoirs.
“In the future what we’d like to be able to do is solve the inverse problem – given some field record, solve for detailed properties of fracture,” he said.
Past winners of the Kauffman Gold Medal include Cecil Green, a founder of Texas Instruments, and Lucien LaCoste, a UT Austin alum and physics professor prior to founding his own company. SEG is a global non-profit dedicated to the advancement of applied geophysics.