Dr. Leon Thomsen holds degrees in geophysics from Caltech (BS, 1964) and Columbia (PhD, 1969). His academic career began with postdoctoral appointments at CNRS in Paris, and at Caltech, followed by tenured faculty appointments at the State University of New York at Binghamton (1972-80).
Thomsen's industrial career began in 1980, at Amoco's Tulsa Research Center. In 1995, he moved to Amoco Worldwide Exploration in Houston, to help implement the ideas that he had earlier helped to invent. Following the 1999 merger, he served in BP's Exploration and Production Technology Group in Houston as Principal Geophysicist and Senior Advisor.
Following his retirement from BP in 2008, he remains professionally and scientifically active as chief Scientist of Delta Geophysics.
Thomsen has led technical development in applied geophysics through innovation in vector seismics; polar anisotropy, azimuthal anisotropy, azimuthal AVO, converted-waves, and Life-of-Field-Seismics; in pore-pressure prediction; and most recently in CSEM, through numerous SEG publications and presentations, and many patents. Thomsen was an early recipient (1960-64) of an SEG Scholarship. He received SEG's Fessenden Award in 1994. He served as SEG Distinguished Lecturer in 1997 and as SEG/EAGE Distinguished Instructor in 2002. He is an honorary member of the Geophysical Society of Houston and of EAGE. He was appointed a foreign member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, and given their Kapitsa Medal in 2004. He served SEG as Vice President, as President-Elect, and as President (2006-07).