Ocean waves at sunset, with the coast and tall clouds in the distance

Ocean Sciences Award

Information on the Award

The Ocean Sciences Award is presented biennially in odd-numbered years and recognizes outstanding leadership or service to the ocean sciences by a senior scientist. Established in 1982, this award is presented at the Ocean Sciences section luncheon during the AGU Fall Meeting.

Waves crashing on shore at Cape Point, South Africa

Award Benefits

AGU is proud to recognize our section honorees. Recipients of the Ocean Sciences Award will receive the following benefits with the honor:

  • 1
    Award certificate
  • 2
    Recognition in Eos
  • 3
    Recognition at the AGU Fall Meeting during the award presentation year
  • 4
    Complimentary meeting registration the year the award is presented
  • 5
    Complimentary ticket to the Ocean Sciences section luncheon at the AGU Fall Meeting during the award presentation year


To better understand eligibility for nominators, supporters and Ocean Sciences Honors Committee members, review AGU’s Honors Conflict of Interest Policy.

  • The nominee is required to be an active AGU member.
  • The nominee must be primarily or secondarily affiliated with the Ocean Sciences section or a related sub-section.
  • The following individuals are not eligible to be candidates for the award during their terms of service:
    • AGU President;
    • AGU President-elect;
    • Council Leadership Team members;
    • Honors and Recognition Committee members;
    • Ocean Sciences Section leadership;
    • Ocean Sciences Honors Committee members; and
    • All full-time AGU staff.

  • Nominators are not required to hold an active AGU membership.
  • The following individuals are not eligible to be nominators for the award during their terms of service:
    • AGU President;
    • AGU President-elect;
    • Council Leadership Team members;
    • Honors and Recognition Committee members;
    • Ocean Sciences Section leadership;
    • Ocean Sciences Honors Committee members; and
    • All full-time AGU staff.

  • Individuals who write letters of support for the nominee are not required to be active AGU members.
  • The following individuals are not eligible to be supporters for the award during their terms of service:
    • AGU President;
    • AGU President-elect;
    • Council Leadership Team members;
    • Honors and Recognition Committee members;
    • Ocean Sciences Section leadership;
    • Ocean Sciences Honors Committee members; and
    • All full-time AGU staff.

The following relationships need to be identified and communicated to the award committee but will not disqualify individuals from participating in the nomination or committee review process. These apply to committee members, nominators, and supporters:

  • Current dean, departmental chair, supervisor, supervisee, laboratory director, an individual with whom one has a current business or financial relationship (e.g., business partner, employer, employee);
  • Research collaborator or co-author within the last three years; and/or
  • An individual working at the same institution or having accepted a position at the same institution.

Individuals with the following relationships are disqualified from participating in the award nomination process as a nominator or supporter:

  • Family member, spouse, or partner.
  • A previous graduate (Master’s or Ph.D.) and/or postdoctoral advisor, or postdoctoral fellow may not write a nomination letter but may write a supporting letter after five years of terminating their relationship with the nominee beginning on 1 January after the year the relationship was terminated.
  • A former doctoral or graduate student, or a former postdoctoral fellow may not write a nomination letter for a former advisor but may write a supporting letter after five years of terminating their relationship with the nominee beginning on 1 January after the year the relationship was terminated.
Underwater view of rocks with sunlight, Greece

Nomination Package

Your nomination package must contain all of the following files, which should be no more than two pages in length per document and submitted as one PDF file. Watch our tutorial on successfully submitting a nomination package or read our guide.

  • A nomination letter that states how the nominee meets the selection criteria. It should include details about significant contributions to the ocean sciences, particularly through outstanding leadership or service. Nominator’s signature, name, title, institution, and contact information are required and letterhead is preferred;
  • A curriculum vitae for the nominee; and
  • One additional letter of support. Supporter’s signature, name, title, institution, and contact information are required and letterhead is preferred. We encourage letters from individuals not currently or recently associated with the candidate’s institution of graduate education or employment.

Submission Process

Award recipients are chosen by the Ocean Sciences Section Honors Committee. Nominations should be submitted online.
Rock formations in water at sunset with clouds


Alistair Adcroft


Paula S Bontempi


Douglas Webb will receive the 2017 Ocean Sciences Award at the 2017 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 11–15 December in New Orleans, La. The award is given in recognition of “outstanding leadership or service to the ocean sciences.”



Doug arrived at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in 1962. Soon after, with encouragement from Henry Stommel, he began to explore the possibility of using the global deep sound or SOFAR channel to deploy and track neutrally buoyant floats over 1,000-kilometer distances. This wasn’t just an exciting idea; it was a revolutionary concept. Twenty SOFAR floats were deployed to great success to study the mesoscale eddy field in the Mid-Ocean Dynamics Experiment (MODE) in 1973. Many SOFAR float studies followed, including one to tag and track a Mediterranean salt lens for 3 years. During those years, many cutting-edge technologies emerged from Doug’s lab including the vector-averaging current meter (VACM) and the Neil Brown CTD.

The next major leap was the Autonomous Lagrangian Circulation Explorer (ALACE), which he initiated with Russ Davis at Scripps Institution. Conceived originally as a nonacoustic Lagrangian float, it evolved into the profiling Argo float, with nearly 4,000 of these deployed around the world profiling temperature and salinity every 10 days. The Argo float has been truly transformative; we now want to reach deeper and profile chemistry and biology as well!

Doug also is the godfather of the glider, another transformative platform that uses variations in buoyancy for its horizontal propulsion. Equipped with CTDs and other sensors, it glides through the ocean sampling the vertical and horizontal structure of the top kilometer of the ocean. The interest in these tools compelled Doug to start his own company; it was so successful he was bought out! There is no mistaking Doug’s contributions to modern observational oceanography. Through his own work and through his leadership, Doug Webb has played a truly central role in the development of the vast array of tools we have today for probing the global ocean water column.

—Tom Rossby, University of Rhode Island, Narragansett


I am grateful to the AGU Ocean Sciences section for this award, and to Tom Rossby, a valued colleague and friend since the mid-1960s, for his kind words in his citation.

Bringing to life new tools for global ocean observation involves many people from laboratories and research centers around the world. In receiving this award, I wish to acknowledge the contribution of them all. They include the designers and builders of the tools and the scientists who accepted the risk of using novel instruments. For junior scientists, whose futures depend on reliable and useful results, this is a special risk.

Of all these colleagues, I would particularly like to note the importance of Henry Stommel’s enthusiasm and support for the development of many ideas over the course of 3 decades.

Thank you for this wonderful award for a lifetime of fun and challenging work.

—Douglas Webb, Teledyne Webb Research, North Falmouth, Mass.

Donald Rice will receive the 2015 Ocean Sciences Award at the 2015 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 14–18 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award is given in recognition of outstanding and long-standing service to the ocean sciences.



Don Rice is well known for his successful direction of the chemical oceanography program at the National Science Foundation (NSF) over the past 2 decades. The vibrant health of the program today, even within a declining research budget, speaks to his leadership, vision, and diligence in the pursuit of research excellence, a diverse portfolio, and cultivation of scientists at all career levels.

Don has been instrumental in developing the field of ocean biogeochemistry through his leadership in the Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS) and the Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry program (OCB). His tactical skill in finding ways to support critical science informs his success as much as his intellectual acumen. JGOFS and OCB followed different programmatic models, and yet a third is employed for GEOTRACES, at the intersection of trace metal biogeochemistry, paleoceanography, and physical oceanography. Don’s exemplary broad, balanced, and objective style of program management has advanced and nurtured ocean sciences.

Many of us go into science believing our work will one day benefit society, but for Don Rice, this responsibility is a centerpiece of his career. After establishing himself for his research in ocean sediment chemistry, Don obtained a master’s degree in public health to help promote research on the impact of ocean processes on human health, as well as the impact of human activities on the health of the ocean. To this end, he serves as lead NSF program officer in the NSF–National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Joint Program for Centers of Excellence in Ocean and Human Health. Both ocean and society are threatened by global warming, and Don has acknowledged this by his tenure on the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s subcommittee on “Global Change and Human Health” since 1997, as well as the U.S. Global Change Research Program Carbon Cycle Interagency Working Group.

Don Rice’s intellectual creativity extends beyond the ocean sciences, including mastery of Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit. He is truly a Renaissance man, making him uniquely deserving of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Ocean Sciences Award.

—Robert F. Anderson, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, N.Y.


I am deeply grateful to the AGU Ocean Sciences section for this award and to Bob Anderson, a longtime colleague-in-arms from the days of U.S. JGOFS down to U.S. GEOTRACES, for the kind words in his citation. Rewards for doing what one loves doing can come in many forms, but the recognition of one’s peers is hard to beat.

My career as an NSF program officer came about quite by accident and, as far as I know, without malice aforethought. Beginning in 1990, Dr. Neil Andersen, my predecessor at the helm of the NSF Chemical Oceanography Program, began encouraging me come to NSF to serve as a rotator in the program. As ocean chemists in academia continue to do down to the present day when approached with such an alarming suggestion, I always had plenty of good reasons to decline. But I eventually ran out of excuses: my postdoc left for a real job, my anticipated new doctoral student got a better offer, and for the first time in 12 years my NSF grant was not renewed (for good reason, I will admit). In any event, I agreed to join up as a rotator “for one year, Neil.” That was 1994. In 1997, when I was offered Neil’s old job, I accepted it as an honor. I have had no regrets.

I am grateful to my family for their support for forbearance of my eccentricities and absences over the years, to my graduate students who taught me far more than I could ever have presumed to teach them, and to the hundreds of colleagues in the worldwide ocean sciences community who have made my life’s work a joy and an adventure. I share this award with them all.

—Donald L. Rice, National Science Foundation, Arlington, Va.

Eric J. Lindstrom received the 2013 Ocean Sciences Section Award at the 2013 AGU Fall Meeting, held 9–13 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award is given in recognition of outstanding and long-standing service to the ocean sciences.



Eric J. Lindstrom’s record over the last 3 decades exemplifies both leadership and service to the ocean science community. Advancement of ocean science not only depends on innovative research but is enabled by support of government agencies. As NASA program scientist for physical oceanography for the last 15 years, Eric combined his proven scientific knowledge and skilled leadership abilities with understanding the inner workings of our government bureaucracy, for the betterment of all. He is a four-time NASA headquarters medalist for his achievements in developing a unified physical oceanography program that is well integrated with those of other federal agencies.

Eric’s scientific interests have been directed toward the tropical ocean circulation and air-sea interaction processes. He has a total of 37 peer-reviewed publications (5 in AGU journals). Before NASA, Eric served in leadership roles in the World Ocean Circulation Experiment, Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean Atmosphere Response Experiment, and Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), gaining enormous experience in large international and interagency research programs. He currently serves as cochair of the GOOS Steering Committee.

In addition to his dedication and hard work on behalf of physical oceanography, Eric operates with a high degree of integrity and is resourceful, politically savvy, and very effective at getting things done. He understands what is important, and his endeavors sustain a large body of scientific work in our field of oceanography and the broader climate community.

Eric Lindstrom is the most effective, proactive, science-knowledgeable program manager we have encountered. Our science is very fortunate for his devotion to the highest quality and integrity in program management.

—ARNOLD L. GORDON, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, N.Y.; and GARY S. E. LAGERLOEF, Earth Space Research, Seattle, Wash.


My sincere thanks go to the AGU Ocean Sciences section for this award. Is there any higher honor than recognition by one’s peers? To join the illustrious list of prior recipients is deeply moving. Thanks so much to Arnold and Gary for their abundant praise and support over many years.

Many of you do not know me and may typecast me only as a NASA program manager. However, my professional roots as a seagoing physical oceanographer still run deep. A career ambition remains to truly integrate our in situ and space-based ocean observing systems. I inherited the calling from mentors such as Bruce Taft at the University of Washington (my Ph.D. advisor), Angus McEwan at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation Australia, Worth Nowlin at Texas A&M University, Richard Lambert at the National Science Foundation, Stan Wilson at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and an immensely supportive NASA team, including Michael Freilich and Jack Kaye.

I feel like my career has seen the emergence of a “golden age” in ocean science, so rich are developments of observations, models, theory, and practical applications. It continues to be an awesome experience. The development of incredible space-based observing capabilities and autonomous ocean profiling has enabled studies of the global ocean circulation that were merely dreams a few decades ago. Fully understanding the “slow dance” of the ocean-atmosphere system will require sustaining these capabilities over many more decades and advancing them further. There are still great expanses of ocean with a dearth of observations—the deep ocean (below 2 kilometers depth), the polar seas in the sea ice zone, and time series of surface fluxes in nearly all environments, to name a few. Further efforts to educate our society’s leaders on the importance of the ocean to the health and economy of life on Earth may be our highest priority, if we are to sustain ocean science and observations through austere times.

I am grateful for the support of my family and the entire ocean science community for making my career a labor of love. The Ocean Sciences Award is really shared with the many who make my career such a joy. Thank you.

—ERIC J. LINDSTROM, NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

James H. Swift received the 2011 Ocean Sciences Section Award at the 2011 AGU Fall Meeting, held 5–9 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award is given in recognition of outstanding and long-standing service to the ocean sciences.



James H. Swift has served the oceanographic community widely and extraordinarily well for 3 decades, full of enthusiasm for exciting ideas and careful measurements, invariably self-effacing, but without ever compromising his high standards. His deeply thoughtful and eminently practical service almost always occurs in a research setting, often where he himself is actually engaged so that science and service are closely and comfortably joined, much to the benefit of his colleagues in many lands. A particular expression of this happy marriage is the generosity with which he shares the beautiful data sets that he has collected or synthesized.

His contributions span the world ocean. The support of planning is meticulous. The service measurements are of standard setting quality. Extremely large data sets are assembled, checked, and distributed with great speed and user friendliness. Excellent analytical tools are developed and supported for community use. A vast experience is shared liberally and cheerfully. Ideas, suggestions, and data are offered without reserve.

Swift’s selfless service to the ocean sciences community around the world is remarkable for its quality, breadth, duration, and influence. His colleagues are fortunate to be the beneficiaries.

—Knut Aagaard, Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, Seattle


Thank you very much, and my most sincere thanks to AGU and the Ocean Sciences Section for this award. I am deeply honored to be named in the company of those who have previously received this award, many of whom are friends and respected mentors. I note especially Curt Collins and Dick Lambert, who epitomized solid program management and respect for the people doing science, and my former graduate school office mate Tom Kinder, who used to joke to me as I toiled away on data that someday I would be “Chief Hydrographer of the Western World.”

Knut Aagaard, my dear friend and former graduate advisor, not only has the most amazing knowledge and understanding of the oceans but is also a patient man, allowing me, during my student days, to find my way within my mixed bag of interests, stumbling into the ocean data world as I tried to better understand the Nordic Seas. As I completed my dissertation a phone call from Joe Reid set the course for a stimulating and productive postdoc with him at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), where I rubbed shoulders with Bob Williams and the rest of the former Geochemical Ocean Sections Study Operations Group (now the Oceanographic Data Facility). What wonderful people I have worked with!

I am forever grateful for the support of my family and for the interest and support of SIO, an institution whose enlightened leadership values the many means—some nontraditional—by which ocean science can be advanced. The fact that my community values this as well—as expressed by this award—is an amazing honor. It is wonderful to be able to do daily what one loves and to be smiling on the way to work. Thank you.

—James H. Swift, SIO, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla

Reiner Schlitzer received the 2010 Ocean Sciences Section Award at the 2010 Ocean Sciences Meeting, held 22–26 February 2010 in Portland, Oreg. The award is given in recog­nition of outstanding and long-standing service to the ocean sciences.



It is my privilege to nominate Reiner Schlitzer (Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Germany) for the AGU Ocean Sciences Section Award. His contributions in data management for large international research projects (World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE), Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research (IMBER), and GEOTRACES) and his development of the impressive data manipulation and visualization tool Ocean Data View (ODV) are meritorious contributions.

The massive data sets collected in the past few decades by international projects are only as valuable as they are accessible for easy manipulation and investigation by the broader ocean sciences community. Reiner created, disseminated, and continues to support the powerful yet facile ODV (http://odv.awi.de), which allows quick manipulation of very large data sets, giving unprecedented and rapid access to the science. ODV was developed such that thousands of oceanographers and students can learn it quickly and almost immediately make headway with their own data sets. Putting many more minds onto the questions that can be answered using global data sets is of incalculable value, and that is what ODV has done.

It is impossible to attend ocean sciences meetings where ODV is not most often the software of choice to present findings. At present, there are 2100 different visitors to the ODV Web site each month, downloading 60 gigabytes of software and data. The number of registered users is now at 16,500 and rising by 300 per month. There are Japanese and Russian translations of the ODV manual, again demonstrating Reiner’s dedication to service to the international community.

I thank the award committee for its deliberations on the merits of Reiner Schlitzer as a recipient of this very important award. He is absolutely deserving of this recognition.

—Dennis A. Hansell, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, Miami, Fla.


Thank you, Dennis, and thank you very much to AGU for this award. Data management has for a long time been seen as something quite technical and boring—certainly not as interesting and exciting as the scientific analysis of data and the discovery of new insights and knowledge. Yet recognition of the fundamental value of data management is growing, especially in our field of environmental sciences, where large and comprehensive data sets are needed to make scientific progress.

My interest in data analysis and visualization arose more than 2 decades ago during my Ph.D. work supervised by Wolfgang Roether. The objective was to apply new inverse methods then developed by Carl Wunsch to infer deep-water spreading rates on the basis of 14C measurements and a large hydrographic data set kindly provided by Joe Reid. Development of software to read Joe’s tape and to quality control and process the data for use in the model can be seen as the start of the work that eventually led to ODV. The first public version of ODV was released in 1990. The need for improvements in support of my own research as well as the constructive interaction with a growing user group have motivated further development ever since.

Design and implementation of ODV was influenced by the ATLAST and Java Ocean Atlas software and has benefited from fruitful collaborations with Peter Rhines and Jim Swift. The ODV software development would not have been possible without the long-term support of the Alfred Wegener Institute and the financial contribution from the European Commission. Much of the work was carried out during evenings and over weekends. I am grateful to my partner, Sabine, for her love, understanding, and support over all the years.

—Reiner Schlitzer, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany

H. Lawrence Clark received the 2008 Ocean Sciences Award at the 2008 Ocean Sciences Meeting, held 2–7 March 2008 in Orlando, Fla. The award is given in recognition of outstanding and long-standing service to the ocean sciences.



The AGU Ocean Sciences Award is presented in recognition of outstanding and long-standing service to the ocean sciences community. It is my pleasure to make the citation for Larry Clark, our 2008 recipient of the Ocean Sciences Award.

Larry worked in the Ocean Sciences Division of the National Science Foundation (NSF) for over 25 years. Beginning in 1981 as program manager for the Oceanographic Technology Program, Larry helped foster innovative technology development that advanced oceanographic science. He managed three interdisciplinary components of the program: technology development, acquisition of shared-use instrumentation, and shipboard technical support services. Larry did much to advance ocean sciences by encouraging and stimulating development of oceanographic technology. He was instrumental in the evolution of ocean observatories.

Larry’s responsibilities at NSF were expanded in 1993 when he became program manager for Oceanographic Technology and Interdisciplinary Coordination. Besides his former duties of directing oceanographic technology, Larry now also oversaw elements of the Ocean Science Division’s international and ocean education activities, the Arctic System Science Program (ARCCS), and the Coastal Ocean Processes (CoOP) Program. Larry’s abilities to foster innovative science, obtain funds for research, and conduct rigorous scientific reviews and evaluation were major contributions to the success of CoOP. Under Larry’s leadership, NSF Ocean Sciences began the Centers for Ocean Science Education Excellence (COSEE) program, which advanced ways ocean scientists can contribute to “K-to-grey” education.

As head of the Ocean Sciences section and director of the Ocean Sciences Division of NSF, Larry fostered interdisciplinary research. He represented NSF Ocean Sciences in the National Ocean Partnership Program, the Interagency Working Group for Ocean Observations, and the Joint Subcommittee on Ocean Science and Technology. Through Larry’s leadership, the critical role of NSF’s basic research in ocean science was supported in these initiatives.

In addition to his many contributions to oceanography through his work at NSF, Larry has a long record of involvement with the Oceanography Society (TOS), culminating with his service as president of TOS. Larry has helped organize TOS meetings, created education initiatives, and made efforts to entrain minorities into oceanography.

People who have been fortunate to work with Larry will attest to his integrity, diligence, and dedication. He has advanced ocean science through his promotion and leadership of interdisciplinary research and advances in ocean instrumentation. Larry has altruistically devoted his career to oceanographic science and deserves recognition through this award.

—Michael R. Roman, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Cambridge


Thank you, Mike, Cindy, and the AGU Ocean Sciences section. And thank you, friends and colleagues, who nominated me and supported my receiving this award. It is an honor and a privilege to be here today. And it is especially so for me, after having looked on the AGU Web site and noticed some of the previous recipients of this award—many of whom have been my mentors and people I hold in great esteem.

I feel privileged for having had an avocation for the oceans—messing around on boats and being in and on the water—become a gratifying vocation for 25 years. I realized early on that I would not be on the cutting edge of science and personally making great advances in our knowledge of the oceans. But I had a rewarding career facilitating and helping others, who were on the cutting edge, advance our field. Whatever I may have accomplished is as much the result of efforts by the people with whom I have worked as with my own doing. I had the privilege of spending a career with some of the most dedicated, hardworking, interesting, and smart people engaged in scientific research. And many of you are in this auditorium today.

If you will indulge me, I would like to leave you with a thought. Please raise your hand if you have ever reviewed a research or other proposal for the NSF, ONR, or any other agency—nearly everyone here. If you did not raise your hand, one of my former colleagues will be visiting you soon!

Throughout my career, I tried never to lose track of the human element behind the proposals and projects I dealt with. Instruments and ships and computer models do not advance science; people do. Scientific advances come from the intellectual creativity, curiosity, wisdom, experience, and talent of people working in all modes of our profession. Many of these human qualities do not lend themselves to the formal structure and formatting of proposals. As funding competition increases and there is more emphasis on bureaucratic imperatives and performance matrices, the human element behind the proposals can get lost. Ocean science can suffer as a result. So I hope that the next time you review a proposal you will look beyond the science and the scoring sheet and the panel ratings and consider the individual behind the proposal; do not lose track of the human element that is key to advancing our knowledge of the oceans.

Thank you for the award. I had a great career, and I wish you the best success in yours.

—H. Lawrence Clark, National Science Foundation (Retired), Arlington, Va.

Worth D. Nowlin Jr. received the Ocean Sciences Award, which was presented to him on 22 February at the 2006 Ocean Sciences meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, for outstanding and long-standing service to the ocean sciences.



The Ocean Sciences Award is presented in recognition of outstanding and long-standing service to the ocean sciences community. It is a pleasure to make the 2006 citation for Worth D. Nowlin Jr., Distinguished Professor of Oceanography at Texas A&M University [College Station].

Worth has, for more than four decades, served as a community leader of mesoscale and large-scale studies of oceanic distributions of properties, the dynamics of ocean circulation, shelf circulation in the Gulf of Mexico, and the development of the coastal module of the Global Ocean Observing System. He has had a tremendous impact on all facets of oceanography and colleagues and students alike.

Worth has published some 80 peer-reviewed journal articles and hundreds of technical reports. He takes great pride in mentoring his graduate students, who span several generations on a direct lineage from his major professor, Distinguished Professor Robert O. Reid, and ultimately to his ‘scientific grandfather,’ Harald U. Sverdrup, the Norwegian pioneer of modern oceanography and the lead author of The Oceans, the ‘bible of oceanography’ for every oceanographer of my generation.

He has served the ocean community through numerous organizations, including the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Office for International Decade of Ocean Exploration, the Journal of Physical Oceanography, the Intergovernmental Ocean Commission, the Joint Oceanographic Institutions, the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE), the NSF/University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) Fleet Improvement Committee, the Global Ocean Observing Systems (GOOS), the Intergovernmental GOOS, and the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System.

Worth Nowlin has been associated with Texas A&M University for half a century, as an undergraduate and master’s student in mathematics, a Ph.D. student in oceanography, faculty member, department head, deputy dean, and since 1987 distinguished professor, the highest academic rank. Worth has brought in untold research grants and contracts and continues to have an incredible influence on colleagues, postdocs (18), graduate students (31), and technicians at Texas A&M University and institutions around the nation and the world.

Worth is a no-nonsense Texan who does not mince his words. He is full of good ideas and willingly shares opinions and advice. He will give you honest and direct answers to questions you ask, and sometimes—actually often—to questions you do not ask. He is an ‘archetype A’ personality. He demands far more of himself than he does of others, and he never shirks a task. Worth has a very proactive way of operation: ‘He does not wait for his ship to come in; he swims out to meet it,’ according to a colleague.

Worth collects fountain pens and uses them daily, yet somehow never seems to use his shirt pocket as a blotter. He plays racquet ball with a vengeance. He likes to do his own landscaping under the hot Texas sun. Worth is a gourmet cook, a dedicated student of vintage wines, and a gourmand. He dearly loved his cat of 23 years, and when it died, welcomed two more into his life. Worth and his wife, Laura, are generous with both money and time. Worth has on several occasions paid the tuition for students out of his own pocket when funds were in short supply. Worth is a tough guy, but according to a former student, ‘while he is pretty slender around the waist, you will run out of tape if you measure him around the heart.

It is my pleasure to recognize Worth D. Nowlin Jr., Distinguished Professor, and the recipient of the 2006 American Geophysical Union Ocean Sciences Award.

—Björn Kjerfve, Texas A&M University, College Station


I am very honored to receive this award.

I thank AGU and those who were involved in the nomination and selection process. During the past 40 years, it has been my privilege to work with individuals from many different sectors of the ocean sciences community. I would like to thank just a few of those who profoundly altered my life. Thanks to:

Robert O. Reid, who was my major professor and continues today as my scientific mentor.
Hugh McLellan, who introduced me to observational oceanography and allowed me to direct my first observational oceanographic project, a month-long survey of the Gulf of Mexico in 1962.
Feenan D. Jennings, who introduced me to the federal government complex at ONR and has remained my lifelong friend and a godfather to my children.
Joseph Reid, who introduced me to research in the Southern Ocean and to large-scale oceanography.
William J. Merrell, from whom I learned a great deal about management and who remains a valued friend.
D. James Baker, a great friend, scientific colleague, and confidant from his time at Harvard through his many positions until his current one as president of the Philadelphia Museum of Natural History.
Helmuth Sievers, Chilean Navy, retired, who helped me understand the value of international cooperation.
Dale Pillsbury, my good companion during 11 years of research in the Southern Ocean.
The late George Needler, who worked with me during WOCE and planning for the climate component of the Global Ocean Observing System, and who was a special friend.
Neville Smith, for his work in the design of the Global Climate Observing System.
Ann Jochens, who guided my recent research projects and taught me much about ethics and excellent administration.
My spouse, Laura Nowlin, who taught me the values of effective communication and is the love of my life.
“To mention the numerous others who have helped me qualify for this award would take more time than allowed. I thank you again and hope you enjoy the remainder of this fine meeting.

—Worth D. Nowlin, Jr., Texas A&M University, College Station

Bilal Haq of the U.S. National Science Foundation received the Ocean Sciences Award at the awards program on 28 January in Portland, Oregon, for “extraordinary contributions and service” to ocean sciences.



“Bilal Haq’s extraordinary contributions to ocean sciences will certainly have a long-lasting impact in the continuing development of our knowledge in marine geosciences. It is our pleasure to offer this brief citation of Bil’s very long list of accomplishments for a well-deserved award in ocean sciences by the American Geophysical Union.

“For nearly sixteen years, Bil Haq has selflessly served the ocean science community in his capacity as the director for marine geosciences programs at the National Science Foundation showing distinctive leadership in initiating and promoting significant new initiatives important to the continued vitality of marine geosciences.

“Bil received his doctorate degree from the University of Stockholm in Sweden and went on to pursue an extremely productive research career at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, before joining Exxon Research Labs in Houston for an equally productive career in the industry. During that time, he worked and published extensively on a variety of issues related to soft-rock geology; Bil was a true pioneer in the fields of paleobiogeography, paleoceanography, sequence stratigraphy, and eustasy. Some of his publications are among the most highly cited papers in Earth sciences. In 1988, he joined NSF and has had a distinctive career as the director for marine geology and geophysics programs. His impact on sedimentary geology has been widely recognized; in 1998, he was awarded the Francis Shepard Medal by the Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM); and in 1999, he was elected fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Bil also received the NSF’s Antarctic Service Medal in the same year. Bil Haq is most remarkable and somewhat unique in continuing to publish research papers despite his busy duties as the director of one of the major programs at NSF.

“During his tenure at NSF, Bil has been a most proactive program director, not just responding to the community’s wishes, but proactively soliciting their views and, when needed, nudging them in the right direction. Several examples of initiatives he has begun or vigorously advanced are Marine aspects of Earth System History (or MESH) which is a Global Change initiative, and the MARGINS Program. Over the years, he has also prodded the sedimentary geology community to become more quantitative and to test their concepts through modeling. Bil has also actively encouraged gas-hydrate research by increasing the awareness of its importance both inside and outside NSF since 1990 through publications, talks, and an appearance before a Congressional Committee to support such research. His proactive stance towards marine geoscience research is further exemplified by the ‘Future of Marine Geosciences’ workshop that he organized with his MG&G colleagues in 1996 in order to actively involve the community in the planning for the future of their science. The results of the workshop (also called the FUMAGES Report) will guide future directions in marine geosciences for years to come.

“Bil has also been very effective in promoting marine geosciences internationally, by helping several burgeoning oceanographic institutions in developing countries with initial planning and identifying future directions, and by participating in UNESCO’s Inter-governmental Oceanographic Commission and IUGS committees and panels. His assignment with the World Bank during 1996 was also focused on helping ocean science research and development and integrated coastal zone management in developing countries.

“Bilal Haq richly deserves the Ocean Sciences Award for his long-standing and dedicated leadership and services in marine geosciences, and his extraordinary contributions to ocean sciences in the fields of paleoceanography, marine stratigraphy, eustatic sea-level changes, and sedimentary geology.”

—Florentin Maurrasse, Florida International University, Miami
—James P. Kennett, Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Barbara


“Thank you, Florentin and Jim for your kind words and to AGU’s Ocean Sciences Section for this honor. It is especially nice to be recognized for simply doing your job, particularly when you are fortunate enough to be happily immersed in an environment where countless bright ideas are continuously proposed all around you. How could anyone ask for a better job? You don’t have to write proposals, struggle constantly to raise your salary, fight with the dean to keep your space or with the chairman to keep your tech, and yet you are in the midst of some of the most exciting science in your field. Working at NSF for me has been a bit like being a referee or even a ball thrower at Wimbledon.

“I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge all the wonderful help I have received in performance of my duties from colleagues in the Division of Ocean Sciences as well as other divisions at NSF, especially my fellow program officer and friend Dave Epp and too many talented rotating scientists from the community to mention by name. You might say that my management style at NSF has, by choice, been what one might call of the ‘matrix’ type (as opposed to a ‘pyramidal’ kind). This approach seems to have attracted truly accomplished scientists from the community to come work with us, who have visibly enhanced the MG&G Program and our rapport with the community that we serve. I hope we can keep attracting talented new blood to our visiting scientists’ program that is so vital for NSF to remain current. Matrix management allows you to share the burden as well as decision-making authority within the group and it encourages greater horizontal communication. One fine by-product of such lateral shared responsibility is that it affords you an occasional pause in which to pursue your own research and, thanks to NSF, I have been lucky to be able to follow some of my own research ideas over the years. Alas, I just don’t seem to be able to divest myself of the research bug!

“In parting, I hope you will indulge me by allowing me to mention a concern of mine. In recent years, I have been a bit worried about our complacency as research scientists. We may not be paying enough attention to the immediate relevance of our work to society, remaining quite content if only a handful of our colleagues understand or care about what we accomplish. I believe that we have to change this mind-set if we want to claim greater impact in solving pressing societal problems of resource exploitation and conservation, environmental degradation and remediation, and the overall quality of human existence, problems that loom big in this century. As stewards of the oceanic milieu, we will be called upon to provide lasting solutions and must prepare ourselves to face these issues.

—Bilal U. Haq, U.S. National Science Foundation, Arlington, Va.

Thomas Kinder received the Ocean Sciences Award at the Awards Program on 11 February, in Honolulu, Hawaii for outstanding and longstanding service to the ocean sciences.



Thomas Kinder has earned the Ocean Sciences Award through outstanding service and unselfish cooperation in research. Dr. Kinder has successfully encouraged, facilitated, and implemented activities that have strengthened the foundation on which nearshore and continental shelf research is based. Dr. Kinder obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 1976. He subsequently spent 8 years as a research scientist at the Naval Research Laboratory. In 1987, he left his research position to become a Scientific Officer in Physical Oceanography at the Office of Naval Research (ONR). Two years later, he became Team Leader of the Coastal Dynamics Program at ONR, an activity that funds research on nearshore processes, including the study of waves, currents, and sediment transport on beaches, and on the physical oceanography of continental shelf flow fields. It was in the field of nearshore processes that Dr. Kinder has made an undeniable impact.

In the 1980s, the nearshore research community was fragmented and lacked focus. Dr. Kinder spent the next 14 years strengthening nearshore research activities, partially by encouraging and facilitating the planning and execution of a series of systematic, well-organized field experiments and supporting modeling studies that addressed major scientific issues in nearshore processes. Tom Kinder also worked to improve interactions among nearshore scientists. He encouraged the nearshore community to attend and to present results at the AGU Fall Meeting, which has become the largest annual meeting of U.S. nearshore researchers (and usually one of the largest sessions at AGU).

In addition to increasing communication among scientists, Dr. Kinder worked to improve communication among agencies involved in nearshore research. These efforts helped establish multi-agency funding for joint research projects, which focused and thus increased available resources. For example, the series of nearshore experiments at Duck, North Carolina, the largest and most comprehensive anywhere, were jointly funded by the ONR, the Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the National Science Foundation.

Tom Kinder spent considerable effort encouraging and counseling young scientists. During his tenure at ONR, five nearshore researchers received ONR Young Investigator awards. Tom played a critical role as advocate in that process and generously mentored young scientists throughout his tenure. Additionally, Dr. Kinder always was willing to discuss almost any issue with senior (as well as junior) scientists, offering his opinion or providing counsel when appropriate.

Although not of a technical nature, and often behind the scene, Dr. Thomas Kinder's contributions to U.S. nearshore science may have been the most important from any individual in the last 20 years. It is a pleasure to be able to provide a citation for someone who so clearly deserves this award.

Steve Elgar, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Mass., USA

—Ken H. Brink, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Mass., USA

—John S. Allen, Oregon State University, Corvallis, USA

—Bob Guza, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, Calif., USA


John, thank you for your kind and flattering remarks. I also thank the American Geophysical Union and its officers for having this award. I am deeply honored.

Everything worthwhile that I accomplished in ocean science was with the help of partners, either one or many. So this award also includes all those who have worked with me.

More broadly, I know personally many fellow oceanographers whose service to ocean science at least equals my own. So I view this individual award to me as representing all those who helped and as a reminder of all those who do so much to enable the ocean sciences to remain sound and vibrant.

On a personal note, when Bob Weller surprised me with the news of the award, I shared my happy feelings with my wife. During the conversation, I said, 'You know, when they give you this award it means you are really old.' I was fishing for a reply such as 'You've still got it!' or 'You're really not that old!' Uncharacteristically, she replied, 'I'm sure you're right, dear.'

So I thank you again for this award, and remind you that it represents the efforts and accomplishments of many. It brings a warm glow to the heart of a really old oceanographer.

—Thomas Kinder, Hayfield High School, Springfield, Va., USA

Richard B Lambert


Polly A Penhale


Donald F Heinrichs


Mary Hope Katsouros


Robert Heinmiller


Neil R Andersen


Nicholas P Fofonoff


John A Knauss


Gordon R Hamilton


J Michael Hall


Curtis A Collins


Wayne V Burt


Feenan D. Jennings


W Stanley Wilson


Richard C Vetter


Robert E. Wall


Eugene Cecil LaFond


Honors Contacts

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Hannah Hoffman

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