On 6 December 2009, the distinguished Spanish-French physicist and geoscientist, Albert Tarantola, passed away at the age of 60. Born in Barcelona in 1949, he went to Paris where he lived most of his life, and worked as a professor at Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris. His extensive scientific production and remarkable achievements in inverse problem theory and geophysical data analysis established him as one of the most influential mathematical geoscientists of our time. He became the father of probabilistic inverse theory, a theory that he passionately defended against severe criticism and managed to propagate to a major part of the geophysical community. Another major achievement was his contributions to the theory of seismic waveform inversion — a work that right now is unfolding its potential in large-scale computations. Albert’s contributions were not limited to geoscience. He started his career in astrophysics, and later in his life he wrote several papers and books on physics and probability, including new formulations of fluid dynamics, elasticity theory, global positioning, and scientific inference. Albert possessed a unique combination of exceptional skills and remarkable mental energy. He was a veritable powerhouse with an unusual work ethic, and his passion for science will remain an ideal for all those who worked with him.