2019 Symposium Honouree

Roy Lindseth

Dr. Roy Lindseth

Not long ago, Roy Lindseth passed away. He had received almost every important award there was for geophysics, scientific accomplishment and service. Perhaps the most prestigious of these was the Order of Canada, awarded only to those who have “enriched the lives of others and made a difference to this country”. Whenever a significant geophysical event happened in the past 60 years, Roy was somehow involved, front and center, or in an inspirational role. To his long list of recognition, we are now, belatedly, adding Honouree of the 2019 CSEG Symposium.

Roy was interviewed in 2007 for the Recorder. In his understated way, he talked about many of the events in his remarkable career, including this description, which perfectly illustrates not only his resourcefulness and innovation, but even more clearly, his unpretentiousness:

“…in 1960, I attended a two week course in digital computer technology and learned to wire up a program punchboard for an IBM 650 accounting machine. That came in handy back in Calgary when as a consultant I ran across a difficult problem of locating pay zones in a field of braided sands and shales. To model the seismic response under varying reservoir conditions I programmed a primitive form of deconvolution on the local IBM 650. The results proved to be quite successful in spotting well locations and got me into digital operations.”

Incidentally, after that ‘handy’ invention, Roy founded a seismic processing company, writing many of the programs himself.

Roy was obviously modest and charming, yet sharp and observant. He contributed immensely to the science and application of geophysics and, well into his 80’s, remained interested in furthering its use and usefulness. He didn’t resist change – he encouraged, supported, created it. In that way, he influenced and inspired many in his network, which extended around the world. A timeless, ageless role-model, Roy took scientific and business risks to create a foundation that much of our discipline is built on.

Roy Lindseth leaves a significant legacy and was truly a giant. From his shoulders we can see further.


A remarkable self-educated professional, Roy achieved distinguished recognition in his endeavors. After attending Western Canada High School, he embarked on an adventurous early oil patch career in Latin America, before returning to Calgary in 1960, becoming Vice President, EDP Engineering Data Processors Ltd. in 1964, then Vice President and Director, CDP Computer Data Processors Ltd. in 1968. He served as Chairman of his own Calgary & Houston petroleum consulting firm, Teknica Resources Development from 1972-92 where he pioneered the technology of synthetic well logs, digital seismic signal processing (DSSP), and invented Seismic Trace Inversion using computer applications in the petroleum industry; this lead to his appointment as Chair and President, HPC High Performance Computing Centre 1992-94; thereafter returning to Latin America as Director, TransGas de Occidente, S.A.; and Director, TransCanada International Ltd. 1994-2000.

He remained active as a consultant through age 85, retiring after more than 60 years in the oil patch, in 2010. In addition to his varied career, he served in many organizations, and was often honoured with their highest awards, including as President of APEGGA, who bestowed him their Centennial Award 1983, and an Honorary Life Membership; named a Fellow, Royal Society of Canada 1987; received the. J. Tuzo Wilson Medal, Canadian Geophysical Union 1979; served as President of both the Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists, receiving CSEG Medal in 1989, and the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, for whom he lectured on "Recent Advances in Digital Data Enhancement Techniques" in 48 countries, receiving the Kauffman Gold Medal 1970, Enterprise Award 1989, and J Maurice Ewing Gold Medal 2007; Senior Member and Past President Canadian Geoscience Council; Officer, The Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem; bestowed a University of Calgary Honorary Doctor of Laws 1978, awarded H.M. Queen Elizabeth II Silver, Gold, and Diamond Jubilee Medals; and, most notably, the Order of Canada, 1996.

He enjoyed golf at the Calgary Golf & Country Club and the annual Oilmen's Golf Tournament, meeting colleagues at the Calgary Petroleum Club, attending the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and Calgary Opera. At the age of 92, his "Slosh" league team won the coveted ''Red Suspenders" at the Ranchmen's Club, where he served as President in the Club's Centennial Year, 1991.