Professor Ravasi receives the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers Arie van Weelden Award 2022

20 June, 2022

KAUST Assistant Professor of Earth Science and Engineering Matteo Ravasi recently received the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE) Arie van Weelden Award 2022. Ravasi received the award—consisting of a medal, certificate, and a cash prize equal to 1,000 euros—during the 83rd EAGE Annual Conference and Exhibition, held in Madrid, Spain, from June 6-9, 2022. 
Founded in 1951, the EAGE is a leading international organization honoring excellence in geoscience and geophysics. It was established to promote the development and application of geosciences and related engineering subjects and to foster communication, fellowship, and cooperation among those working in, studying, or otherwise interested in these fields.
The award is presented to an EAGE member—a geoscientist or engineer aged 35 or below at the time of their nomination—who has made a highly significant contribution to one or more of the Association’s disciplines. Alongside his scientific contributions , Ravasi was a member of the EAGE Young Professional Committee for several years and helped the Association increase its engagement with other early-career scientists. 
Regarding his Arie van Weelden Award win, he said: “I feel honored to have received the EAGE Arie van Weelden Award 2022. I have been involved in the EAGE community since I was a Ph.D. student back in 2012. Since then, I have tried to contribute to EAGE both technically as well as serving in various special interest communities. It is always rewarding to see that the community appreciates you, and this award recognizes that.”
Understanding what lies beneath 
Before joining KAUST in 2021, Professor Ravasi held various roles within the Norwegian energy  company Equinor (formerly known as Statoil). During his time in the industry, he contributed to the development of geophysical technologies aimed at identifying discoveries and increasing hydrocarbon recovery of existing reservoirs. 
Ravasi has also been involved in the fields of machine learning and high-performance computing and the development of several open-source software packages to simplify the use of geophysical data and improve reproducibility in the area of geophysical inverse problems.
At KAUST, he is the principal investigator of the Deep Imaging Group (DIG) and a member of the KAUST Extreme Computing Research Center. His research interests include inverse problems and their applications to seismic acquisition, processing, imaging, quantitative interpretation, and time-lapse monitoring. From a purely scientific point of view, knowing what lies beneath our feet is a fascinating thought for the young Italian researcher.
“My research focuses on improving our understanding of the Earth’s subsurface at different scales. To do so, my group combines basic principles of physics and mathematics with novel advances in deep learning and high-performance computing,” he explained. 
“Combining the laws of physics, principles of linear algebra, and advanced computing, we can nowadays image what happens thousands of meters deep by simply using measurements of tiny shakes recorded at the surface of the Earth; it is hard to believe there is something more fascinating than this.”
Aiding the Kingdom’s transition to a low-carbon future
For Ravasi, Saudi Arabia presents one of the most exciting places in the world in terms of geology and subsurface utilization. Technologies created by his group can directly affect how the Kingdom understands and utilizes its available natural resources. He expects that some of the geoscientific tools currently under development in his lab will contribute toward the Kingdom’s transition to a sustainable, low-carbon future. 
“Given the multi-disciplinary nature of our research, some of the ideas and tools we create for geophysical applications are sometimes also embraced in other scientific disciplines, such as astrophysics and medical imaging.”
“More specifically, we are developing new algorithms to quantitatively characterize the Earth’s subsurface and monitor changes through time, increasing resolution and reducing uncertainties compared to state-of-the-art technologies. The energy industry has been a great user of the subsurface for many years, and it will continue to benefit from it in the years to come, both to produce useful resources and store carbon dioxide in depleted reservoirs.”
According to Ravasi, the world needs young geoscientists and engineers to solve some of the long-standing challenges that prevent humankind from using the resources that the Earth has to offer in a sustainable manner. 
“My advice to my peers is to follow your passion and curiosities. Discover new theories and put them into practice, and always share not only your theoretical results but also the tools that you have built along the way to achieve such results; others will appreciate and do the same.”