... let the data speak to you  

1911 Country Brook Lane
Allen, Texas 75002
Phone +1-214-544-7183
Fax +1-214-544-0452
E-mail alistair@airmail.net



Honorary Membership Citation for
Alistair R. Brown


James D. Robertson

Alistair Brown is an internationally recognized geoscientist best known as the author of the book, "Interpretation of Three-Dimensional Seismic Data". This publication is the definitive, and now classic, text on the subject. Conceived in 1979 and first published in 1986, the book helps geoscientists extract more information from their seismic data and improve the quality of their interpretations. Jointly published by SEG and AAPG (SEG Investigations No. 9/AAPG Memoir 42), the book is in its Sixth Edition and has recently surpassed 20,000 in worldwide sales.

Alistair grew up in Carlisle in northern England between the Scottish border and the English Lake District. He and his mother were the extent of their family. He stepped out of this provincial background by entering Oxford University in 1960. At Oxford he met Mary, and they married in 1963. Alistair's career in geophysics started in Australia where he received his grounding in seismic data acquisition, processing and interpretation while working for the Australian Bureau of Mineral Resources. Returning to England in 1972, he joined Geophysical Service Inc. and specialized in experimental seismic interpretation. Of note is that he interpreted the first commercial 3-D seismic survey in the North Sea in 1975. In 1978, Alistair and his family moved to Dallas to work at GSI's head office.

A burst of creativity characterized the next few years. Alistair invented the horizon slice in 1979, now a primary tool of 3-D seismic interpretation, and contributed to the development of the petroleum industry's first commercial workstation in 1980. He then worked closely with workstation developers to define what these new machines needed to do. Teaching courses to oil company personnel led to his becoming an independent consultant in 1987. Now for almost 20 years, he has been a consulting reservoir geophysicist teaching seismic interpretation methods and advising on seismic interpretation problems worldwide. More than 8000 geoscientists have taken his courses.

Alistair has made numerous contributions to SEG and other professional societies. It was a privilege for me to get to know him while we jointly taught the SEG continuing education course, "Seismic Interpretation for Detailed Exploration, Development and Production", in 1984-87. He was Chairman of the Editorial Board of The Leading Edge from 1986-88 and was instrumental in guiding TLE in its early days toward the outstanding publication that it has now become. More recently, he was Editor of the Geophysical Corner in the AAPG Explorer from 2004-05. Alistair's exceptional skill as a communicator has led to service as a Distinguished Lecturer for several societies, and, in particular, he was selected as the first joint AAPG-SEG Distinguished Lecturer in 1999-2000.

Alistair and Mary travel extensively and enjoy the opportunity to combine Alistair's business activities with sightseeing and visiting friends in numerous countries. Three countries remain special in the Brown family psyche: the United States as their principal home; the United Kingdom where their cottage in Cornwall is a favorite retreat close to where Mary was born; and Australia which is deeply significant as the locale of their early family history.

Alistair has taught many courses, presented and published numerous papers, and continually updated his book through six editions and several reprintings. As the fabric of the petroleum industry has changed and the training of geoscientists continually reorganized, he has been persistent in improving the quality of seismic interpretation. This lifelong, dedicated effort has inspired his colleagues to optimize their seismic interpretation methods. It is not an exaggeration to say that Alistair has probably had more influence on how we interpret modern seismic data than any other single person. It is principally for this that SEG honors him today.

-- New Orleans, October 1, 2006

(click images for larger versions)

Further Accomplishments:

Commercial 3-D seismic surveys started in 1975 and I had the opportunity to interpret the first survey in the North Sea. Further early work in the Gulf of Mexico demonstrated that new methods of interpretation were required. I developed many new methods of 3-D seismic interpretation and display, principally during the period 1976-1986. The horizon slice, now one of the prime tools of stratigraphic interpretation, was a key invention made in 1979.

I was involved in the development of the first seismic interpretation workstation in 1980. The symbiosis between 3-D and the workstation was then key to further development and many of the new methods mentioned above were developed on the workstation. Understanding how to use color to aid interpretation was a major contribution. Extraction of information about petroleum reservoirs has always been a particular interest. Understanding seismic attributes is a special current interest.

Teaching others to interpret 3-D data effectively became a focus in 1982. After my independence in 1987 this reached a crescendo and is still today a major occupation. Approximately 8000 geoscientists have received this education and are consequently extracting more information from their 3-D interpretations. Short courses are conducted around the world and, because they are in such demand, my backlog is usually around 9 months. Clear and concise lecturing skills have become part of the worldwide reputation.

I have been invited to be a professional society Distinguished Lecturer four times. The audiences for these and other lectures have added greatly to the number of geoscientists educated in the ways of better seismic interpretation.