Faculty and Staff

Dr. Ali Tura, RCP Director              



Ali Tura is Professor of Geophysics and Director of Reservoir Characterization Project at Colorado School of Mines. His expertise is in the areas of seismic data processing, seismic analysis, time-lapse seismic, rock physics, fiber optic technology and data analytics. He is also Chief Scientist at Tulip Geosciences, a geosciences consulting and training company. Prior to this he was Geophysical Senior Fellow at ConocoPhillips. Ali was a founding member and COO of 4th Wave Imaging, a seismic R&D company. His other responsibilities have been leading time-lapse seismic reservoir monitoring at Chevron and Shell, and amplitude-preserving migration based AVO analysis at Elf (now Total).

Ali received a B.Sc. degree from Istanbul University, and an M.S. and Ph.D. degree from the University of California, Berkeley, all in Engineering Geosciences. His work during this period ranged from deconvolution of seismic data, to full-waveform seismic modeling of vertical seismic profiling (VSP) data, to fracture detection from cross-well reflection/diffraction tomography in anisotropic media at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He has taught graduate level courses at the University of Texas, Dallas, Mathematical Sciences Department, and Istanbul Technical University, Geophysics Department. He was a visiting scientist at Karlsruhe University, Germany, where he worked on comparing theoretical aspects of Kirchhoff versus Born modeling and migration. Ali has mentored many Ph.D. interns at ConocoPhillips and Chevron and lead an industrial consortium on time-lapse seismic while at 4th Wave Imaging.

Ali is active within the SEG. He served as SEG Vice-president, Vice-chairman and Chairman of the SEG Global Affairs Committee, and Chairman of the SEG Research Committee. He has been a member and Chairman of the editorial board of The Leading Edge and Associate Editor of Geophysics. He has also been a board member of SEG Global Inc. and Co-chairman of OTC Technical Committee.

Jim Simmons, Research Associate Professor




Jim joined RCP and the Geophysics Department in April, 2017 as Research Associate Professor.  His expertise is in the areas of multicomponent seismic, seismic modeling, seismic inversion, surface seismic and vertical-seismic-profile (VSP), processing and analysis.

Jim received his B.S, M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in geophysics from The University of Texas at Austin. In graduate school, he was a member of Project SEER (Solid Earth Exploration Research), an industry consortium led by Dr. Milo Backus. The goal of Project SEER was to reproduce prestack, elastic seismic data to within 10% absolute error. Towards this goal, Jim contributed in the areas of first-arrival time tomography, amplitude-versus-offset  (AVO) modeling in the presence of thin layers, poststack seismic inversion, and prestack elastic seismic inversion.

He then moved uptown to the Bureau of Economic Geology where he worked on seismic interpretation and reservoir characterization, crosswell seismic tomography, VSP’s, and 3-D 9-C seismic data. After a stay at 4th Wave Imaging, Jim joined GX Technology with the charter of initiating and developing a multicomponent seismic program. Once the multicomponent program gained traction, he made research contributions in the areas of converted-wave splitting estimation and compensation, and multicomponent prestack seismic modeling in anisotropic media. While at GXT/ION, Jim advised on multicomponent projects, and worked on 3-D VSP processing and analysis for unconventional reservoirs.

Research interests include the development of techniques to expose, and illustrate, the potential value added from prestack multicomponent seismic data.

Sue coordinates the planning, implementation and tracking of applied research projects with industry sponsors and student teams.  She also manages RCP’s budget and contracts.  Sue oversees communications, including media, marketing and website and provides editorial guidance for graduate students in developing effective presentations, reports, and publications.

Before joining Colorado School of Mines in 2014, Sue served in management roles at ION Geophysical, most recently as director for the GMG product division, focusing on business development and management. As a consultant, Sue advises geoscience companies in developing effective business and marketing strategies. She began her career as a geophysicist for UP Resources (now Anadarko). Sue holds a B.Sc. in geology and an M.A. in Education from the University of Colorado.

Larry Irons, RCP Systems and Software Support Engineer



Larry maintains and supervises RCP’s computer hardware, software and data inventories. Prior to joining Colorado School of Mines in April 2017, Larry was a senior geophysical analyst at FairfieldNodal. With 18 years of experience in information technology (IT) and software development, Larry’s IT experience includes database applications, computer systems administration, Internet security, network administration, computer telephony, and hardware engineering. He also has 22 years of professional geophysical experience in the petroleum and environmental industries. Larry holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in geology from the University of Nebraska. Larry is a past President and an Honorary Lifetime Member of the Denver Geophysical Society. He is a registered Professional Geologist in Wyoming.

Gary Binder, Postdoctoral Fellow


Gary joined RCP and the Geophysics Department in February 2018. He earned a B.S. in physics at the California Institute of Technology, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in experimental particle physics at the University of California, Berkeley. Previously, he worked on the IceCube Neutrino Observatory to detect faint optical light from neutrinos interacting in the ice sheet at the South Pole. Currently, his interests are in microseismic monitoring, distributed acoustic sensing, and applying machine learning and other statistical techniques to improve reservoir characterization.