Stewart Elected SEG President

Will Assume Office at 2018 Annual Meeting

Robert Stewart, Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished University Chair in Exploration Geophysics at the University of Houston, was selected as president-elect of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) by its active members worldwide.

Robert StewartWith more than 27,000 members in 128 countries, SEG members range from industry professionals to academic researchers. Many members, including Stewart, have careers that have spanned the resource sector as well as university and governmental communities.

“I’m elated to have been elected and excited to further serve the profession of exploration geophysics as it strives to support economic prosperity, understanding of the Earth, and humanitarian outreach,” Stewart said.

After Stewart spends a year serving on the SEG Board as president-elect, he will assume the office of president at the 2018 SEG Annual Meeting in Anaheim, California. After his term as president, he will serve an additional year as past-president.

During these three years, Stewart will be part of the Executive Committee and Board, with responsibilities in outreach and education, strategic and business planning, and collaborations with other associations and groups.

Adapting to Serve Evolving Needs of Members

Stewart’s election comes at a time when applied geophysics is facing challenges due to the economic downturn in the oil and gas industry. One of SEG’s challenges is to ensure that it serves the ever-evolving professional interests and needs of its members. Especially important are networking opportunities, continuing education, and connection to advances and best practices in applied geophysics.

“We have been extensively surveying our members and the communities which they serve,” Stewart said. “What do they need? We see opportunities for further partnerships with other Societies and agencies, advancing our members’ mobility and qualifications, introducing geophysics to other economic and scientific sectors.”

Versatility of Exploration Geophysics

Stewart’s career has included positions as an energy company employee, a small business owner, and a professor of geophysics, joining the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in 2008. He is enthusiastic about using this broad experience to help guide decisions and activities in his role with SEG. He is well placed to do so having received the SEG’s Distinguished Educator Award and UH’s Teaching Excellence Award.

“As geophysicists, we’re keen to explore for almost anything,” Stewart said. “Geophysics is valuable for discovering and recovering resources – that includes fresh water for drinking, lithium for batteries, even diamonds for rings – as well as harvesting hydrocarbons,” he continued. “But, more and more, we also see our role in understanding and mitigating natural hazards and disasters in addition to assisting with designing and protecting infrastructure.” He added, “The training and viewpoint of a geophysicist is quite adaptable.”

What Does the Future Hold for Geophysics?

“We are looking to the future – which is always tricky – but are guided by the SEG’s mission to inspire, connect, and propel the people and science of applied geophysics,” Stewart explained. “What resources will society need? How will we generate energy for 8 billion people? Where will geophysics be useful? We are trying to answer these questions and shape our organization to respond to these scientific, professional, and economic demands of our members and society. We’re committed to contributing, and I look forward to an exciting three years.”

- Rachel Fairbank, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics