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Maurice Ewing medal

Information on the Ewing Medal

The Maurice Ewing Medal is given annually to one honoree in recognition of significant original contributions to the ocean sciences which includes for the advancement of oceanographic engineering, technology, and instrumentation and/or outstanding service to the marine sciences.

The Ewing Medal is jointly sponsored with the United States Navy and is named in honor of Maurice Ewing, who made significant contributions to deep-sea exploration.

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Award benefits

AGU is proud to recognize our honorees. Recipients of the Maurice Ewing Medal will receive an engraved medal, as well as the following benefits with the honor:
  • 1
    Awardee will be made an AGU Fellow (if the honoree has been an AGU member for three consecutive years and is not already a Fellow)
  • 2
    Recognition at the AGU Fall Meeting during the award presentation year
  • 3
    Four complimentary hotel nights at the AGU Fall Meeting during the award presentation year
  • 4
    Two complimentary tickets to the Honors Banquet at the AGU Fall Meeting during the award presentation year


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

  • 1

    Nominees: The nominee should be a senior scientist, but is not required to be an active AGU member. They should be in compliance with the Conflict of Interest Policy.

  • 2

    Nominators: Nominators must be active AGU members and in compliance with the Conflict of Interest Policy. Duplicate nominations for the same individual will not be accepted. However, one co-nominator is permitted (but not required) per nomination.

  • 3

    Supporters: Individuals who write letters of support for the nominee are not required to be active AGU members but must be in compliance with the Conflict of Interest Policy.

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Nomination package

Your nomination package must contain all of the following files, which should be no more than two pages in length per document. For detailed information on the requirements, review the Union Awards, Medals and Prizes Frequently Asked Questions.

  • A nomination letter with one-sentence citation (150 characters or less). Letterhead stationery is preferred. Nominator’s name, title, institution, and contact information are required. The citation should appear at either the beginning or end of the nomination letter.
  • A curriculum vitae for the nominee. Include the candidate’s name, address and email, history of employment, degrees, research experience, honors, memberships, and service to the community through committee work, advisory boards, etc.
  • A selected bibliography stating the total number, the types of publications and the number published by AGU.
  • Three letters of support not including the nomination letter. Letterhead is preferred. Supporter’s name, title, institution, and contact information are required.
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Ewing medalists are evaluated based on significant original contributions to the ocean sciences. Their contributions for the advancement of oceanographic engineering, technology, and instrumentation, and/or outstanding service to the marine sciences also considered.

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Past recipients


Christina Ravelo’s groundbreaking research on tropical climate variability and change, climate sensitivity, and ocean circulation and thermal structure spans several geological epochs extending from the Miocene and the Pliocene to the Last Glacial Maximum and the Holocene to the present. Her work covers many geographical regions as well — from the subarctic North Pacific to the tropical Indo-Pacific and, more recently, the Southern Ocean. Her contributions to our understanding of global climate change have been profound, innovative and influential, drawing critical links between the climate of the past and that of the future. Christina’s scientific discoveries inspired a generation of students, postdocs and other researchers to study the role of the tropics in the climate system. Christina’s work of the past two decades reinvigorated research on the Pliocene climate. With carbon dioxide concentration at today’s elevated levels, the Pliocene has been long considered a potential analogue to the future greenhouse warming climate. Christina’s and her collaborators’ discovery of a reduced east-west sea surface temperature (SST) gradient along the equator in the Pacific Ocean during the Pliocene epoch was a real game changer, as this gradient controls the atmospheric Walker circulation and has far-reaching effects on global climate. The state with the reduced east-west SST gradient was dubbed a permanent El Niño-like state or, as Christina named it, El Padre. This was a paradigm shift drawing attention to the tropical ocean as a potential driver of climate change on geological timescales. Christina’s latest work combining multiple temperature proxies from different tropical locations confirms her original ideas. Christina has also investigated changes in El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) through time. In a series of papers, using individual planktonic foraminifera, she has demonstrated that ENSO was weaker during the Pliocene, the Last Glacial Maximum and the early and mid-Holocene than at present, which raises the question of potential impacts of anthropogenic global warming on ENSO. Christina’s scientific discoveries parallel her participation and innovative leadership in the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) and its predecessors (Ocean Drilling Program and International Ocean Drilling Program). The current IODP Science Plan (2013-2023) was shaped by her guidance and contributions. Her leadership ushered in a new era of IODP discoveries with mission-specific platform exploration that started in 2003 and continues today. The Ewing Medal is fitting recognition of her outstanding contribution to the field and her truly exceptional and inspiring leadership and influence on the science of paleoclimatology and climate change. — Alexey Fedorov Yale University New Haven, Connecticut Sorbonne University Paris, France


It is a wonderful honor to be this year’s recipient of the Ewing Medal. In receiving this award, I have been given the gift of an opportunity to reflect on my career and express my gratitude to those who have inspired and supported me. I do not take this support for granted. I am a woman of color, the daughter of immigrants, and have not always felt welcome in the scientific spaces that I occupy, code-switching to make it past gatekeepers to enter the worlds of science and academia that are ruled by unfamiliar cultural norms. I say this without bitterness or regret, but out of an obligation to speak my truth. Heartfelt thanks to my inspirational colleagues who see me for who I am and have engaged me in scientific debate and discussion for years: Alexey Fedorov, who nominated me; Matt Huber, Maureen Raymo and Tim Herbert, who supported my nomination; Ivano Aeillo, Mitch Lyle, Yair Rosenthal and Delia Oppo, who are four of my most generous and insightful science comrades; and my University of California, Santa Cruz, family, who nurture and elevate me, including Jim Zachos, my departmental colleagues and my fellow equity warriors. The most gratifying and important research I do is with my students, and I share this award with my 20+ graduate and 200+ undergraduate former and current students. Special thanks to Heather Ford, one of my amazing former students who worked behind the scenes to support this nomination. My career was decidedly transformed by the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP), now the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP). ODP/IODP is a truly community-driven program, responsible for much of what we know about past climate change, particularly of past warm periods. Serving on panels, working on proposals, participating in expeditions — these opportunities gave me leadership skills and a community of collaborators who have sparked some of my best ideas that have sustained me throughout my career. I would not have earned this award without the unshakeable support of my family and friends. Thanks to my parents; my husband, Roberto; and our three kids, Ezequiel, Michaela and Gina. You continuously entertain and uplift me. A final remark about my truth is about hope. My hope is that we dismantle biased structures and transform our culture to one that welcomes and amplifies the voices of those that have been marginalized. I thank AGU for their leadership in this transformation. — Ana Christina Ravelo University of California, Santa Cruz Santa Cruz, California


Dr. Eelco Rohling is a major force inpaleoclimatology and paleoceanography who addresses questions about past oceans and climates that are critically important to society and the future of humanity. 

From early in his career, Rohling recognized the value of analyzing amplified climate signals from the marginal Mediterranean and Red Sea basins. Using oxygen isotope measurements of planktonic foraminifera, he pioneered new methods to develop continuous marginal basin sea level reconstructions. His highly resolved record for the last glacial cycle was the first to provide continuous time resolution, which allowed assessment of rates of sea level change. It revealed that sea level variations during the last glacial cycle were much more rapid and of greater magnitude than previously thought and indicated, controversially at the time, that Antarctic ice sheet fluctuations were likely involved. Rohling also established the first robust estimates of the rates at which the sea level rose to several meters above the present level during the last interglacial maximum, when global temperature was similar to today. On average, this rate was almost twice as fast as the most pessimistic predictions for the next century in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment. 

Never happy to rest on his laurels, Rohling continuously seeks to develop deeper insights and new discoveries, particularly about rates of sea level change and their forcing mechanisms. Rohling has successively produced novel and influential sea level records from the Red Sea (back 550,000 years) and the Mediterranean Sea (back 5.3 million years) and, recently, a global sea level and deep-sea temperature reconstruction for the last 40 million years. Rohling emphasizes the limitations of his work — with statistical uncertainty quantification — which leads to testing of results and to further new insights. 

Rohling’s other important contributions are many. They include quantifying ancient climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide forcing and understanding the carbon cycle and Holocene and millennial climate variability. His framework for understanding organic matter preservation in Eastern Mediterranean sediments has deepened understanding of long-term African monsoon dynamics, including their potential influence on hominin evolution and migrations out of Africa. 

Dr. Eelco Rohling’s pioneering research has had widespread cross-disciplinary scientific impact and has influenced government policy in several countries. The oceans are a natural source of inspiration for such a deep and broad thinker as Dr. Eelco Rohling, who is a much deserving Maurice Ewing Medalist.

— Andrew P. Roberts 

Australian National University 

Canberra, Australia

A Russian colleague once said, “You don’t need a hundred rubles; you need a hundred friends.” I am profoundly honored to join previous Fleming medalists who blazed the trail in geomagnetism and planetary physics. But I wouldn’t be here today without help from many friends.

In 1962 Tuzo Wilson, about to discover transform faults and establish plate tectonics, enticed 10 young engineering physics students into geophysics. Magnetic stripes over the oceans are the signature of seafloor spreading — but how do they form and survive over millions of years? My Ph.D. supervisor-to-be Gordon West, with a few sketches, introduced me to magnetic nanoparticles and their coupled-spin domains. Only diamonds are forever, but magnetic nanoparticles run a close second.

Herein lies a puzzle. Once a second domain develops, the particle should lose its stable magnetic memory — but it doesn’t, fortunately for paleomagnetism, the quantitative record of ancient planetary magnetic fields. This puzzle of pseudo-single-domain magnetic memory has occupied me ever since. It now seems close to solution thanks to Wyn Williams’ micromagnetic modeling, initiated with University of Toronto’s first supercomputer 30 years ago.

Life is full of adventures. I studied with the giants of rock magnetism, Takesi Nagata and Minoru Ozima in Tokyo and Émile Thellier in Paris. In 1964 Subir Banerjee took an interest in my first conference presentation, kindling our lifelong friendship. Later, his Institute for Rock Magnetism made possible key experiments by our group. David Strangway helped establish our Toronto lab and gave me an entrée into lunar magnetism. Frank Stacey, on a visit to Canada, discovered my work and added references to it in his textbook. Ted Irving invited me to co-author a book, sadly never finished, and while visiting Peter Wohlfarth, the seeds were sown for another book, Rock Magnetism: Fundamentals and Frontiers.

ÖzdenÖzdemir, co-author of that book and of many seminal papers, has been the mainstay of our group. Experimentalist extraordinaire, she made visible magnetic domains in magnetite’s (110) “magic plane” in a detail never achieved before or since. In an experiment to demonstrate that magnetic stripes can survive chemical change, she spent 4 days and nights in and out of a shielded room. She has no peer.

One must teach a subject to really learn it. My students and postdocs taught me as much or more than they learned. Today, as colleagues we remain in touch. I am deeply grateful to all of you.

— David Dunlop 

University of Toronto

Toronto, Ontario, Canada


I thank my best friend and collaborator Andrew Roberts for his citation. I am honored to receive the Maurice Ewing Medal and am deeply grateful to my family, friends and all colleagues, without whom I never would have reached this stage. And I thank our beautiful blue planet for being so fascinating. Hopefully, discovery will guide humanity toward better stewardship of the planet and its delicate habitats.

Andrew highlights my drive to help clarify the critical role of ocean and climate change in society’s future. For this, I have aimed with my postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers and collaborators to quantify change in a broad range of major Earth system processes, including archeologic, paleoanthropologic and biogeographic implications. I have also ensured to communicate results broadly to fellow researchers, decisionmakers and the wider public. I thank everyone for their efforts and insights. It has been an adventure, we had lots of fun, and we’re not done yet.

I also reflect on some 20 years in a variety of editorial roles, both at AGU and beyond. Here I have had the privilege of working with many excellent and highly motivated colleagues (researchers, publishers and support staff alike) toward one common goal: achieving and maintaining ever increasing standards of peer review and publication. This experience has shaped my development in both science and science communication. 

Andrew mentions that the oceans are my natural source of inspiration. I cannot put it better myself. Thus, the Maurice Ewing Medal awards me for doing what I love doing. What could be better than that? I thank everyone for sharing this journey and hope that our efforts lead to a more sustainable future. 

— Eelco Johan Rohling 

Australian National University

Canberra, Australia


United States Navy

Rear Admiral Selby congratulates the 2020 Ewing Medal recipient, Anthony Brian Watts, on behalf of the United States Navy.



For outstanding contributions to isostasy, flexure, and strength of the lithosphere and for providing leadership in marine geosciences.

Field Photos 

Anthony Watts Ewing Medal Field Photo 1 Anthony Watts Ewing Medal Field Photo 2 Anthony Watts Ewing Medal Field Photo 3



Maureen E. Raymo was awarded the 2019 Maurice Ewing Medal at AGU’s Fall Meeting 2019 Honors Ceremony, held on 11 December 2019 in San Francisco, Calif. The medal is for “significant original contributions to the ocean sciences.”



Maureen “Mo” Raymo’s contributions to the geosciences transformed the understanding of Earth’s climate on tectonic, orbital, and shorter timescales. Mo pushed the envelope in research on the marine record of orbital variability in Earth’s climate over the past few millions of years and authored highly cited and inspiring papers. She did not remain within this broad topic but branched out to research linkages between climate and tectonic regimes, climate variability and oceanic geochemical cycles (including the carbon cycle), and the effects on deep-sea biota and deep-sea circulation patterns. She provided new insight into the correlation between ocean circulation and climate in SE Asia, Africa (over the time of evolution of humans), and the U.S. West—an impossibly impressive list. Her research on the interplay among ocean circulation, ice sheets, and climatic records over the initiation of Northern Hemispheric glaciation and changes in the dominant variability of glacial-interglacial climate change has inspired a large volume of research that is important for our understanding of changes in Earth’s climate.

In addition to her scientific excellence, Mo has been a superb supporter of her many undergraduate and graduate students, as well as postdoctoral advisees, encouraging them to bring out the best in their research and copublishing outstanding work. She has been a major contributor to the paleoclimate research that has been used in the evaluation of anthropogenic climate change and cited in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports. In addition, she has been a popularizer of science, as shown in the book Written in Stone: A Geological History of the Northeastern United States, cowritten with her father. This book is an excellent example of making science accessible to people who are interested but not professionals. This interest in making science accessible to nonprofessionals is also shown in her active involvement in public lectures on climate change, in producing web content (e.g., “How high will the waters rise?”), and in contributing to articles for the general public (“How the New Climate Denial Is Like the Old Climate Denial,” February 2017, Atlantic).

Mo Raymo has served the paleoclimate community in many ways, including decades of service in the Ocean Drilling Programs, as well as membership in the Advisory Council of the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund. At a time when not only climate change science but science in general is under assault, it is exciting and gratifying to see that Mo Raymo, who combines excellence in research with advocacy for science, has been rewarded with the Maurice Ewing Medal.

—Ellen Thomas, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.; also at Wesleyan University, Middletown, Conn.


Thank you, Robin; the Navy; my nominator, Ellen Thomas; and fellow AGU members. It is a wonderful honor to receive the Maurice Ewing Medal especially as, every day, I go to work in the Lamont-Doherty Core Repository, a testament to the foresight of “Doc” Ewing, who insisted that the Lamont research ships collect “a core a day.” Decades later, a revolution in our understanding of Earth’s natural climate variability would spring from these innocuous cylinders of deep-sea mud. I arrived at Lamont in 1982, a decade after Ewing’s departure—by that time women had become a significant cohort of the graduate student body. Today, I would like to thank those gals for providing fellowship, support, and peer mentoring, before “mentoring” was even a word in our vocabulary. Thank you, Delia Oppo, Christina Ravelo, Rosanne D’Arrigo, Terry Plank, Robin Bell, Lisa Tauxe, Julia Cole, Suzanne O’Connell, Emily Klein, Carol Raymond, Kerry Hegarty, Ellen Kappel, Anne Grunow, and others. Somehow, we all thought a career as a scientist would be possible, even though there was very little physical evidence to that effect. I believe it was our critical mass that gave us confidence and strength.

Of course, I’d like to also thank my family, my partner, Ray, and especially my now grown children, Victoria and Daniel, for their unwavering love and support over the years. I’d also like to thank two organizations that never made me feel anything less than a scientist fully deserving of a seat at the table—the National Science Foundation and the International Ocean Drilling Programs. My career would not have been possible without the early support provided by these organizations. Last, I’d like to thank my colleagues at Lamont, to where I returned in 2011. It is an absolute pleasure to go to work every day and be among so many smart and inspiring people who are passionate about our planet’s past, present, and future. I am truly grateful. Thank you.

—Maureen E. Raymo, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, N.Y.

Nicklas G. Pisias was awarded the 2018 Maurice Ewing Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held on 12 December 2018 in Washington, D. C. The medal is for “significant original contributions to the ocean sciences.”



Dr. Nicklas George “Nick” Pisias’s deep and broad understanding of paleoceanography and climate dynamics coupled with novel applications of rigorous mathematical and statistical techniques has been the hallmark of his sustained and transformative contributions to our understanding of the history of global-scale ocean processes and their linkages to climate change. Nick’s most important contributions include his innovative work that laid the foundation for the acceptance and understanding of orbital forcing in explaining the ice age cycles, his extraordinary insights into the role of carbon dioxide in these cycles, and his novel application of phase lags and nonlinear interactions to paleoclimatic time series that significantly improved our understanding of the behavior of the climate system. Over the years, Nick has also given selflessly to the ocean sciences community in innumerable ways, a prime example being his role in providing strong and steady leadership to the Ocean Drilling Program through difficult times.

Early in his career, Nick transformed the new and mostly qualitative field of paleoceanography with seminal papers on the identification of climate periodicities. He explained spectral analysis to a geologic audience, then used it to identify millennial-scale climate oscillations and identify a “flipping or state changing of the climate.” Almost 40 years later, these concepts remain central to understanding natural variability in the context of future climate change. Nick applied these methods to test and further develop the orbital (Milankovitch) climate theory. This work laid the framework for the concept of orbital “tuning” of the geologic timescale, which was a major step forward in developing global stratigraphy and gave birth to the Spectral Mapping Project (SPECMAP) of the 1970s and 1980s. Orbital tuning continues today as the primary stratigraphic method for extending high-resolution chronologies beyond the range of precise radiometric dating.

Given all that Nick has provided to ocean sciences in research and service, he is remarkably modest about his accomplishments. Despite this modesty, the rest of the community has long recognized that Nick is a scientist of the highest caliber and that he brings to all of his research and service an extraordinarily high level of rigor and integrity. His research contributions over the last 40 years represent a sustained level of excellence that has led to many new and profound insights into our understanding of the oceans and climate system, and his central role in developing and leading international programs in ocean sciences has been essential to the sustained health of the discipline. Nick Pisias has clearly achieved the expectations of being selected as a Maurice Ewing Medalist.

—Larry A. Mayer, School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering, University of New Hampshire, Durham


I have few simple life rules; one is, If you are the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. My corollary is that if I were the smartest person in the collaboration group, I was in the wrong group. I started practicing this when I was a new graduate student and convinced Ross Heath and Ted Moore to take me on as their student to be funded by the newly funded Climate: Long-Range Investigation, Mapping, and Prediction (CLIMAP) project. Annually, the CLIMAP investigators and students would gather at Lamont Hall at Doc Ewing’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory. Here I was given the opportunity to start a long collaboration with Jim Hays, John Imbrie, and Nick Shackleton. I was with some of the key founders of the field of quantitative paleoceanography. To keep me focused on the bigger picture of geological oceanography, I managed to share graduate student offices with David Rea and Margaret Leinen. Dave kept me being a geologist by teaching me the structural geology of ocean basins, and Margaret introduced me to some of the details of sediment geochemistry.

Just as I was leaving Rhode Island, I crossed paths with Larry Mayer. We again met on Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) Leg 85 to start a long collaboration in ocean drilling. Going to sea with Larry proved to be an education in not only how to map the seafloor and the overlying sediment section but truly seeing the seafloor and understanding what makes up the paleoceanographic records we rely on for our research. When we ultimately drilled our selected sites, we recovered “gold.”

After arriving at Oregon State University (OSU), I managed to convince the dean that we needed to hire a young Alan Mix. This started our 30 odd years of working on projects ranging from the Strait of Magellan to the fjords of Alaska. Alan’s arrival at OSU was ultimately followed by Peter Clark and Ed Brooks. Our group was completed when we added atmospheric and ocean modelers Steve Hostetler and Andreas Schmittner.

With this group of collaborators how could I not come up with some clever ideas about the geologic history of the ocean. Enough, I guess, to earn this honor as the recipient of the Maurice Ewing Medal. They are not just my collaborators but my friends.

The best thing in all of this is that I had fun doing my work.

Do I have advice for young scientists? Be sure you’re in the right room.

—Nicklas G. Pisias, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis

Donald W. Forsyth was awarded the 2017 Maurice Ewing Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held on 13 December 2017 in New Orleans, La. The medal is for “significant original contributions to the ocean sciences.”



Don has been a role model for me and for many of us in marine geophysics. I came to know Don through his pioneering work and his leading role in the Mantle Electromagnetic and Tomography (MELT) experiment, which transformed both marine seismology and our understanding of the melting processes beneath the ocean spreading centers. It was a technological breakthrough, which became a model for future marine seismology experiments. The MELT experiment demonstrated that the melt extends down to ­150-­kilometer depth and that the melting is asymmetric beneath the ridge axis.

While we were still admiring the results from the MELT experiment, Don led another important experiment, Gravity Lineations, Intraplate Melting, Petrology and Seismology Expedition (GLIMPSE), to study the origin of the linear chain of seamounts and volcanic ridges present only on the Pacific plate side orthogonal to the fast spreading East Pacific Rise. Based on the analysis of seismological, gravity, and bathymetry data, he challenged the existing model of the origin of these ridges by ­small-­scale convection in the mantle and proposed a new model requiring viscous interfingering of enriched material from the mantle upwelling related to the superswell.

It seems that marine geophysics was natural to Don; he started making fundamental contributions during his Ph.D. and wrote a seminal paper on the relative importance of driving forces (ridge push and slab pull) of plate motion. This model helped him to quantify the oceanic mantle anisotropy due to plate motion as it cools away from the ridge axis. He was first to recognize the importance of plate bending in the outer rise leading to earthquake generation.

Don realized the importance of analyzing integrated seismological, gravity, and bathymetry data to determine the anisotropy structure of the Pacific upper mantle and the effective elastic thicknesses of the East African plate. Using gravity data, he discovered the idea of the mantle Bouguer anomaly, separating the effect of crustal thickness from the mantle, allowing us to identify the effect of mantle upwelling beneath ridge axes and plumes and downwelling, such as the ­Australia–­Antarctica discordance zones. He also developed the concept of a bull’­s-­eye at slow spreading centers.

My recent encounter with Don has been on the imaging of the oceanic ­lithosphere–­asthenosphere boundary (LAB), where he discreetly and humbly enlightened me with different conflicting models of the LAB. I would like to thank Don for providing leadership over the last 40 years and invite you to join me in congratulating him on receiving the 2017 Maurice Ewing Medal, a ­well-­deserved honor.

—Satish Singh, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, Paris, France


I’m honored to receive this year’s Maurice Ewing Medal. It is a very nice semiretirement gift to receive as I embark on the emeritus phase of my research career. Thanks to AGU and the Office of Naval Research and, particularly, to those who wrote letters in support of my nomination.

This honor really should be a community recognition for all the infrastructure and technological advances developed by others that have made my research possible. Multibeam echo sounding reveals the basic seafloor structure, GPS allows us to actually know where we are, and satellite altimetry makes it possible to plan detailed surveys in advance. There have been great advances in ocean bottom seismographs that make probing the mantle beneath the seafloor possible with much better resolution. The Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology data management center has made accessing and processing seismic data much easier. And, of course, none of this would have been possible without ships and their crews and technicians. The capability and comfort of research ships in the academic fleet have improved tremendously since my first cruise on the Chain, a converted minesweeper.

Almost all of my research has been done in close collaboration with students, postdocs, and other colleagues. It is totally unfair to single out just a few individuals among them, because they all contributed immensely through hard work and innovations of their own—but I’ll do so anyway. Early on, Seiya Uyeda showed me how much fun science can be as we worked together trying to understand the driving forces of plate tectonics. Dan Scheirer and I had several cruises together; he taught me by example how to be an organized, effective chief scientist. My students and my colleagues at Brown, especially Marc Parmentier, Karen Fischer, and Greg Hirth, have made the past 40 years delightful. My Ph.D. adviser, Frank Press, taught me to tackle important questions, to critically evaluate my own work, and to be bold and unafraid of being wrong or making mistakes. I seem to have learned this last lesson well. I’ve told my students that I couldn’t retire until I published a paper with no mistakes, but now I have gone ahead and retired anyway. But since I expect to remain active in research for another decade or so, there is still hope.

Finally, I’d like to thank my wife, Roberta Ryan, who has tolerated my seagoing adventures and has been a wonderful partner.

—Donald W. Forsyth, Brown University, Providence, R.I.

Peter George Brewer was awarded the 2016 Maurice Ewing Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held on 14 December 2016 in San Francisco, Calif. The medal is for “significant original contributions to the ocean sciences.”



Peter Brewer has been one of the world’s leaders for studying the ocean carbon cycle, global ocean change, and the fate of fossil fuel carbon dioxide (CO2). He has been a role model for scientific vision, leadership, courage, and integrity. I have known Peter for almost 48 years. We worked together on several projects, and I can confirm that Peter is remarkably inclusive in mentoring of other scientists due to his extraordinary talent for asking key questions.

His primary research interests are in the ocean geochemistry of the greenhouse gases, and he has repeatedly made fundamental discoveries on topics before others even recognized them as important areas to study. Peter’s greatest research accomplishments have been regarding the uptake and distributions of CO2 in the ocean. During the Transient Tracers in the Ocean (TTO) and Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS) era, he led the acquisition of ocean ­­­basin-­scale sections of alkalinity and dissolved inorganic carbon. In the 1970s he used such data from the South Atlantic to first determine the distributions of anthropogenic CO2 in the ocean. Along the way he identified that nitrate concentrations were needed for the accurate interpretation of alkalinity distributions and ­­­alkalinity-­­­calcium relationships. He subsequently was one of the first to identify the extent and implications of this anthropogenic CO2 for ocean acidification, “the other CO2 problem.”

As director and CEO, he led the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) during a period of intensive growth. Brewer then moved on to reinvent himself as a research scientist and developed new directions of study that combined the unique scientific and engineering capabilities available at MBARI. He developed concepts and tools for studying the evolution of the oceanic fossil fuel signal of CO2, the geochemistry of methane hydrates, and evaluation of strategies for sequestration of fossil fuel CO2. Brewer’s approach is typified by a quote from his 1999 Revelle Lecture: “If all we do as scientists is measure, model and warn, then our value to society will be limited. Can we also provide solutions as well as define the problems?”

In addition to his outstanding scientific accomplishments, Peter has led development of interdisciplinary research programs to attack these problems on a global scale. JGOFS is Brewer’s greatest legacy. As the first chair of the U.S. JGOFS program, he led the community studying the carbon cycle in the global ocean and its link to climate.

Peter Brewer’s scientific accomplishments and leadership in the field of ocean sciences have been extraordinary, and we honor that by bestowing on him the Maurice Ewing Medal.

—James W. Murray, University of Washington, Seattle


I thank Jim Murray for his kind citation. We have been friends and colleagues for almost 50 years, and even as a student, Jim possessed the scientific gifts that pulled me in. John Riley at Liverpool, and Derek Spencer at Woods Hole, had enormous influence on me, as also did David Packard some 25 years later. I thank too Charlie Paull, Marcia McNutt, and Rita Colwell for their splendid examples of common sense in great science, and the MBARI team for their amazing skills and sustained friendship.

In retrospect, a key turning point was the 1968 request that I teach the marine chemistry course on the opening day of the now legendary ­­MIT-­WHOI Joint Program. That experience forced me to look at the fundamentals behind what then was only a happenstance collection of modest chemical observations in the ocean. It also put me in contact with a series of marvelous students. That lesson has stayed with me throughout my career, and I have been fortunate in being able to apply very basic and fundamental chemical rules to open up important problems. The earliest examples were in the accurate representation of the oceanic CO2 system, and today we are applying similar rigor to the insidious problem of declining ocean oxygen levels.

Jim mentions leadership in building the JGOFS program in the ­­mid-­1980s that successfully laid the basis for modern biogeochemical knowledge of the ocean. Today the precarious pH balance of the ocean is changing rapidly with threats to coral reefs in the tropics and calcareous organisms at the poles. And ocean warming is driving reduced ventilation and increased microbial oxygen consumption rates with huge consequences for marine life. A young scientist listening today must barely comprehend how rapid these changes are and that we still are only seeing glimmerings of Earth’s future.

It has been a privilege to take part in these discoveries, and deeply concerning too as we see with increasing clarity the power of the chemical physics we are unleashing, biting down on our Earth.

I have been attending AGU meetings now since 1968, and the Union offers a welcoming home for scientists from around the world. I thank you all for the marvelous questions you ask about our Earth and its place in space. And most of all I thank my wife, Hilary, who is a far better judge of the character of scientists than am I.

—Peter G. Brewer, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, Calif.

Russ E. Davis was awarded the 2015 Maurice Ewing Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held on 16 December 2015 in San Francisco, Calif. The medal is for “significant contributions to the ocean sciences.”



Davis’s contributions to oceanography are distinguished by unique breadth and a profound impact. Davis began his career by elucidating the role of nonlinearity and dispersion in forming solitary internal waves and by explaining how surf on a beach excites edge waves. He has made fundamental contributions to understanding Lagrangian velocity statistics and ocean property transport. He has focused the most critical of intellects on understanding the limits of ocean observations and climate predictability. Davis introduced objective mapping to the oceanographic community, and now oceanographers cannot analyze data without heavy reliance on this technique.

Davis has been unwilling to be confined by existing instrumentation and has made transformative contributions to ocean-observing technology. He led development of the first acoustic Doppler current profilers for ships and -self--contained units for moorings. With Bob Weller, Davis designed the vector measuring current meter. But Davis’s greatest single contribution to ocean technology is the development, with Doug Webb, of the autonomous Lagrangian circulation explorer (ALACE). These ALACE floats evolved to become the basic platform of the Argo ocean-observing system. Argo routinely reports currents and makes high-quality temperature and salinity measurements to 2000-m depth across the ice-free ocean. Many oceanographers contributed to the success of Argo. But Davis designed a key component, and his leadership was crucial at the creation.

Comparing Russ Davis with Maurice Ewing is irresistible. First and foremost, both combine a rigorous theoretical intellect with a determination to make observations of the ocean. Argo is Russ’s answer to Ewing’s imperative to collect as much ocean data as possible, everywhere and all the time. Ewing was a forceful and outspoken personality. Bullard in his biography of Ewing says, “He never asked anyone to do what he would not have done himself, and in fact he could and would do almost anything.” Those of you who know Russ personally will see the similarities. But doing almost anything is not wise: Ewing was swept overboard and almost lost his life at sea. Russ has developed robotic observers that relieve oceanographers from the dangers and discomfort of seagoing work. Finally, what might have happened if Russ Davis had followed Maurice Ewing and become the director of his home institution? It would have been amusing to observe events in La Jolla from the distant safety of Woods Hole or Hawaii.

The 2015 Ewing Medal recognizes Davis’s pioneering contributions to the solution of many important problems in oceanography and his monumental work in the design of ocean observing technology.

—William Young, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla


I thank Bill Young for his citation putting a splendid spin on my career—beware Australians telling tales. Thanks also to the people who make awards possible by nominating colleagues or donating time on awards committees making Solomon’s choices.

The American Geophysical Union’s awards recognize the accomplishments of individuals. It is fitting to do this and delightful to be recognized. But, I believe, most accomplishments are the product of a community generously helping the young and freely sharing ideas. This is not a new perspective, but let me tell why it is mine.

I inherited my father’s joy in model airplanes, amateur radio, and such, which led me toward engineering. In engineering graduate school, a bulletin board flyer sent me to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution summer program, where Stewart Turner offered to mentor me when my intended adviser disappeared. After a couple months seeing how Turner used laboratory observations and simple models to learn fascinating things, I had unbounded enthusiasm and a thesis topic. Imagine the magnanimity of my chemical engineering adviser, Andreas Acrivos, giving his time and funds to help me study internal waves in his lab! With characteristic grace and generosity, this highly recognized engineer opened the door to oceanography.

Scripps was dominated by giants. Walter Munk and John Miles at the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics invited me into a world looked at through mathematical glasses; “down the hill,” Chip Cox and Fred Spiess had amazing ways to observe and discover things in the ocean. All helped repair my educational holes and made oceanography awfully fun. It was Chip who suggested that the then new acoustic ship’s log might become an affordable miniaturization of the giant acoustic Doppler current profiler that Fred Spiess and Rob Pinkel had built on the floating instrument platform (FLIP)—shipboard and self-contained Dopplers followed. Chip’s lab was a hotbed of technology, including a vertically cycling probe that freed microstructure measurements from ship motion. When Joe Reid showed me fascinating tracks from John Swallow’s floats, the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) float was borne; Terry Joyce suggested adding a conductivity-temperature-depth profiler. Had it not been for Dean Roemmich, that float would have been just another observing specialty. But Dean had the revolutionary vision to turn it into a global observing system, Argo. While he was doing that, I helped Jeff Sherman design the Spray glider; we have been using it ever since.

So I gratefully accept the Ewing Medal with deep gratitude to all those who helped me do useful things and have tremendous fun.

—Russ E. Davis, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, Calif.

John A. Whitehead was awarded the 2014 Maurice Ewing Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held on 17 December 2014 in San Francisco, Calif. The medal is for “significant original contributions to the scientific understanding of the processes in the ocean; for the advancement of oceanographic engineering, technology, and instrumentation; and for outstanding service to the marine sciences.”



First, full disclosure: I am an isotope geochemist penning a citation for a fluid dynamicist. This is the first big hint that Jack Whitehead is unusual and special. Many will not think it complimentary if I say that all the fluid dynamics I know, I learned from Jack! But this speaks directly to the enormous and collegial generosity Jack brings to his science, students, and life. For me, it started when Jack suggested we “make some mantle plumes.” Thus began a journey of novelty and reward and sticky encounters with Karo syrup (likely warping my intuition about mantle plumes!). And what a scientific journey! Or, quoting T. S. Eliot, “We shall not cease from exploration / And the end of all our exploring / Will be to arrive where we started / And know the place for the first time.”

More grandly, Jack’s collegiality is reflected in his CV, a veritable Who’s Who of oceanography and fluid dynamics, to which we add the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution summer Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Program, which has influenced generations of bright students. They will remember Jack’s palpable love of science and his enthusiasm for arresting them into summer projects! Jack will be indelibly recollected as the resident spirit of the unique program known informally as the Walsh Cottage Summer School or, by some, as “the porch people.”

In the “real world” of oceanography, Jack pioneered the application of classical hydraulic theory to rotating flows and overflows. This started in 1974 with his seminal paper “Rotating Hydraulics of Strait and Sill Flows.” Over the next 30 years, Jack continued expanding the theory, also applying it to observational oceanography. This culminated in a 2007 book with Larry Pratt, Rotating Hydraulics: Nonlinear Topographic Effects in the Ocean and Atmosphere. This book is exceptionally thorough and useful and also relevant to the global climate system and the parameterizations used in climate models. Jack’s experimental demonstration of flows with multiple steady states is also directly relevant to the global climate system.

In 1975, Whitehead and Luther published “Dynamics of Laboratory Diapir and Plume Models,” which explored many basic dynamical issues underlying the behavior of buoyant plumes. This incredibly important paper migrated geoscientists toward support of Jason Morgan’s 1971 hypothesis concerning mantle plumes sourced at Earth’s core-mantle boundary. Jack’s trailblazing work nucleated a cascade of ever more complex experimental and theoretical studies. Today, Morgan’s plume theory rests comfortably on this amassed construction built on Whitehead and Luther’s research.

Jack Whitehead’s contributions to science and the community are extraordinary; he is an exemplary recipient of the Maurice Ewing Medal.

—Stan Hart, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Mass.


Thank you all! It has been my good fortune to collaborate with almost 100 coauthors (so far), so mentioning each by name would be excessive. Their expertise includes physical oceanography, geochemistry, petrology, geophysics, volcanology, atmospheric dynamics, planetary dynamics, climate studies, applied mathematics, and physics. Their vocabulary exhausts me! I gratefully thank them for the success of our mutual results both as scientists and as educators. In addition, the complexity and mysteries of the oceans and Earth have surrounded me for 44 years at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Thanks to all my fellow scientists, staff, and students there. And, finally, in spite of all the observations, I require simple explanations to help me with the mathematics, dynamics, and interpretations of ocean and Earth data. Participation, since 1972, in the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Summer School has been essential and a joy! Finally, thanks to the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, and the joint program with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for supporting the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics program and my research.

Most of my work has used fluid mechanics laboratory experiments. Laboratory results differ from numerical modeling results, and the data differ from actual observations. Experimental runs can often be viewed in three dimensions evolving in time. Through the miracle of scaling and dimensionless numbers, a minute in the laboratory can transform to hundreds, thousands, or even millions of years in the oceans or on Earth. A centimeter can transform to meters or even kilometers. Finally, you can often see and sometimes even stir experiments. Incomparable! Thanks especially to technicians Paul Cox and Bob Frazel (both no longer with us), followed by John Salzig, Keith Bradley, and Anders Jensen. Also thanks to my fellow scientists Claudia Cenedese and Karl Helfrich. Showing results to visitors and to my wife, Lin, and children, Glen, Wendi, and Amie, has always been a pleasure and inspiration. We all have received numerous insights while watching experiments and have even had a few eureka moments. It has been wonderful!

Speaking of eureka, I want to encourage everyone out there to try a new idea, the one you always wanted to do. When he was younger, my son, Glen, once asked why the ocean water is blue. I hemmed, hawed, and mentioned the blue sky and nitrogen and so forth, but clearly, my explanations were going nowhere. He simply scowled and said, “well you’re a scientist, discover it!” So to everyone here, let’s discover something new! Thank you.

—John A. Whitehead, Department of Physical Oceanography, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Mass.

Mark A. Cane was awarded the 2013 Maurice Ewing Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held on 11 December 2013 in San Francisco, Calif. The medal is for “significant original contributions to the scientific understanding of the processes in the ocean; for the advancement of oceanographic engineering, technology, and instrumentation; and for outstanding service to the marine sciences.”



Mark Cane started his career when theories for the ocean circulation were “dreamlike” (in the words of Henry Stommel). He made major contributions to a complete change in those perceptions by producing theoretical results that explain and by developing computer models that simulate realistically the variability of the complex system of tropical currents, undercurrents, and countercurrents. His results served as the basis for the design of several international field programs in the three tropical oceans whose different dimensions and different surface winds provide stringent tests for the results concerning the interactions between the waves and currents that determine how the oceans adjust to changing winds.

Next, Cane turned his attention to El Niño, which at that time was regarded as a local departure from “normal” conditions of the upper equatorial Pacific, induced by “triggers” such as westerly wind bursts. Once again, Cane led efforts that resulted in a radical change in perceptions, so that El Niño now is regarded as one phase of a natural mode of oscillation that depends on ocean-atmosphere interactions. (The complementary phase is La Niña.) The elegant, idealized coupled ocean-atmosphere model that Cane and his student Zebiak developed simulates this quasiperiodic mode, produced the first successful dynamical (as opposed to statistical) prediction of El Niño, and has become a widely used tool with numerous applications that include studies of interannual climate variability in general.

Cane’s research established the strategy and rationale for the vast array of instruments we now maintain in the tropical Pacific Ocean and helped launch operational oceanographic activities (the counterpart of the atmospheric activities that provide the daily weather forecast). Cane’s work is the basis for operational and experimental forecasts of El Niño and of seasonal forecasts of temperature and precipitation that are widely used by the agricultural, energy, transportation, and other sectors.

Recently, Cane turned his attention to paleoclimates, specifically the response to Milankovitch forcing. Initial studies of the recurrent ice ages focused on the waxing and waning of polar glaciers, in part because the observations at the time suggested little associated changes in the equatorial oceans. It is now known that the ice ages are associated with significant sea surface temperature fluctuations in low latitudes. Cane’s proposal that the tropical Pacific is a protagonist in the drama of the ice ages has motivated numerous studies, including exploration of the hypothesis that a “permanent El Niño” during the ­mid-­Pliocene (3.3 Ma) delayed the onset of glaciation in the Northern Hemisphere.

Initially, we viewed the ocean as a world unto itself, one that can be studied in isolation, but today, we see it as an essential component of the “Earth system,” one whose interactions with the other components of this planet determine the climate and Earth’s habitability. Mark Cane has been enormously influential in this significant change in our perceptions of the ocean. The award of the Ewing Medal is fitting recognition of the outstanding contributions of an exceptional scientist.

—S. GEORGE PHILANDER, Princeton University, Princeton, N. J.Mark Cane started his career when theories for the ocean circulation were “dreamlike” (in the words of Henry Stommel). He made major contributions to a complete change in those perceptions by producing theoretical results that explain and by developing computer models that simulate realistically the variability of the complex system of tropical currents, undercurrents, and countercurrents. His results served as the basis for the design of several international field programs in the three tropical oceans whose different dimensions and different surface winds provide stringent tests for the results concerning the interactions between the waves and currents that determine how the oceans adjust to changing winds.

Next, Cane turned his attention to El Niño, which at that time was regarded as a local departure from “normal” conditions of the upper equatorial Pacific, induced by “triggers” such as westerly wind bursts. Once again, Cane led efforts that resulted in a radical change in perceptions, so that El Niño now is regarded as one phase of a natural mode of oscillation that depends on ocean-atmosphere interactions. (The complementary phase is La Niña.) The elegant, idealized coupled ocean-atmosphere model that Cane and his student Zebiak developed simulates this quasiperiodic mode, produced the first successful dynamical (as opposed to statistical) prediction of El Niño, and has become a widely used tool with numerous applications that include studies of interannual climate variability in general.

Cane’s research established the strategy and rationale for the vast array of instruments we now maintain in the tropical Pacific Ocean and helped launch operational oceanographic activities (the counterpart of the atmospheric activities that provide the daily weather forecast). Cane’s work is the basis for operational and experimental forecasts of El Niño and of seasonal forecasts of temperature and precipitation that are widely used by the agricultural, energy, transportation, and other sectors.

Recently, Cane turned his attention to paleoclimates, specifically the response to Milankovitch forcing. Initial studies of the recurrent ice ages focused on the waxing and waning of polar glaciers, in part because the observations at the time suggested little associated changes in the equatorial oceans. It is now known that the ice ages are associated with significant sea surface temperature fluctuations in low latitudes. Cane’s proposal that the tropical Pacific is a protagonist in the drama of the ice ages has motivated numerous studies, including exploration of the hypothesis that a “permanent El Niño” during the ­mid-­Pliocene (3.3 Ma) delayed the onset of glaciation in the Northern Hemisphere.

Initially, we viewed the ocean as a world unto itself, one that can be studied in isolation, but today, we see it as an essential component of the “Earth system,” one whose interactions with the other components of this planet determine the climate and Earth’s habitability. Mark Cane has been enormously influential in this significant change in our perceptions of the ocean. The award of the Ewing Medal is fitting recognition of the outstanding contributions of an exceptional scientist.

—S. GEORGE PHILANDER, Princeton University, Princeton, N.J.


I must first pay tribute to Klaus Wyrtki, a hero of mine who passed away earlier this year. At a time when ideas about El Niño pointed all over the place, he told me that Bjerknes’s hypothesis was the way forward. He was right, of course, but Bjerknes stopped short of explaining the oscillatory nature of ENSO, and it took Klaus’s tide gauge data to show that ocean dynamics is the answer. His analysis was masterful, but there would have been nothing much to analyze without his incredible effort to deploy those tide gauges in atolls and islands throughout the tropical Pacific. My magnum opus may fairly be described as translating Bjerknes-Wyrtki into a numerical model.

More than anyone else, I have George Philander to thank for my being here tonight. His account of my accomplishments is exceedingly generous and apparently was persuasive, but the main thing is that he nominated me. Had I not been nominated, some other deserving scientist would be up here now. Most important to say, I am deeply grateful to George for his friendship and support over so many years.

All my best work has been collaborative, with wonderful colleagues, including many terrific students. I cannot name them all, but I must mention Ed Sarachik and Steve Zebiak. My work on equatorial wave theory was done with Ed, and, with the exception of Jule Charney, Ed did as much as anyone to form my scientific outlook. Steve was my first student, and our joint work on simulating and predicting El Niño is the obvious reason I am here. I also must thank my foremost collaborator in life, my wife, Barbara, for her support over a lifetime; I could never have made it this far without her.

At the beginning of my career, equatorial oceanography and ocean-atmosphere interactions were outside the oceanographic mainstream. Fortunately, there was a great group of us in this tropical backwater, and we had the tremendous fun of developing the subject almost from scratch. It has been—and still is—a great ride. There were scarcely any measurements, and making moored measurements on the equator demanded some new technology, largely developed at the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory by Dave Halpern’s group. Theory advanced in the Equatorial Theory Panel, organized by Dennis Moore. Those meetings were exciting scientifically and exceedingly collegial. The equatorial wave theory we developed and confronted with data proved to be freakishly effective. Honors go to individuals, but this honor should also be taken as recognition of the extraordinary collective accomplishments of our tropical ocean community.

I never met Doc Ewing, but I have the great good fortune to work at Lamont, which continues to be the “scientific commune” he created (the descriptive phrase is from Ewing’s biographer, Edward Bullard). I suspect that Ewing, whose idea was to collect as much data as possible everywhere and all the time, would be less than thrilled to see his medal go to a noncontributing “user” like me. Be that as it may, I cherish this award all the more for the Ewing connection, and I thank the Office of Naval Research for making it possible.

—MARK A. CANE, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia

Ellen Thomas was awarded the 2012 Maurice Ewing Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held on 5 December 2012 in San Francisco, Calif. The medal is for “significant original contributions to the scientific understanding of the processes in the ocean; for the advancement of oceanographic engineering, technology, and instrumentation; and for outstanding service to the marine sciences.”



Over the course of her remarkable career, Ellen Thomas has illuminated the microcosm of the deep ocean and brought into sharp focus its significance as a bellweather for global climate change. Her profound mark on the fields of micropaleontology and ocean history derives from an uncanny ability to blend highly detailed data, required to understand benthic communities, with big-picture interpretation necessary to make major advances in paleoceanography. For those who have watched Ellen’s career closely over the last two decades, her tremendous success is not at all surprising. Trained in Utrecht as a classical geologist but also coming from a powerhouse of micropaleontology, Ellen’s career has taken her from Arizona State to the Deep Sea Drilling Project to Wesleyan to Cambridge before settling at Yale for the last twelve years. Over the course of her career, Ellen has repeatedly shown great instincts in zeroing in on timely areas and she has been a harbinger for an unusual number of big advances in paleoclimatology.

Living in possibly the most remote habitat on the planet, deep-sea benthic foraminifera thrive in an environment that is not easily perturbed. For example, as Ellen has discovered, the group was hardly affected by the impact at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary when havoc reigned in the surface ocean and on land. As a result, Ellen was the first to realize that the benthic foraminiferal mass extinction close to the Paleocene-Eocene boundary, an event now well known as the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM) was a very big deal. Not only was the PETM significant enough to change the source of deep-ocean waters, the event is possibly our best road map of future climate change. Since her 1989 publication that presaged recognition of the PETM, Ellen has clarified how the deep ocean changed during the event. Perhaps even more impressive, Ellen has been an author or coauthor of a great number of the most significant papers on the PETM; it is widely understood that if you want one of the best minds in the game, you had better involve Ellen on your team! Ellen’s papers on the PETM are innovative masterpieces, using large data sets to explore a range of novel hypotheses; case in point her 1996 paper with paleoceanography copioneer and co–Ewing medalist Nick Shackleton. And speaking of being a harbinger, Ellen was also the first to realize also in 1996 that the PETM was not unique, that other “hyperthermal“ events as she termed them occurred in the late Paleocene and early Eocene. Following Ellen’s lead, research on hyperthermals is now a cottage industry.

Ellen has proven to be versatile in research, making great progress on a topic close at hand in Connecticut, living foraminifera inhabiting the salt marshes along Long Island Sound. In publications dating back to 1991, Ellen has elucidated the environmental factors that have impacted these communities. Moreover, she has shown the breadth I have referred to through collaborations with her husband Johan Varekamp in volcanology and igneous geochemistry. In closing, the Ewing Medal is a fitting tribute to Ellen Thomas for her numerous intellectual contributions to, and leadership of, the fields of micropaleontology and paleoceanography.

–Timothy J. Bralower, Department of Geosciences, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania


I feel deeply honored to receive the Maurice Ewing Medal, especially because that means seeing my name on a list of medalists including some of my heroes in science. They not only influenced my scientific thinking, especially as to the complexities of the Earth’s carbon cycle, but also helped me in my serendipitous career.


I thank them sincerely: Karl Turekian, who welcomed me to Yale; the late Nick Shackleton, who invited me to Cambridge; Rick Fairbanks at Lamont-Doherty, and Wolf Berger at Scripps, where I was lucky to work with him and Edith Vincent as DSDP staff scientist. I am grateful to Peter Buseck (ASU), my first U.S. employer, who helped with dual-career life and hired me to use an SEM, teaching me about airborne particulates and the practice of doing science in the U.S. I owe much to my PhD advisor at Utrecht University, the late Cor Drooger, who taught me to think of microfossils as living organisms, and offered me a PhD position although the department was unwelcoming to women geologists.

I thank Olaf Schuiling, who showed me in the first university lecture that I attended that carbonate equilibria are exciting: 44 years later I am still studying them, looking at ocean acidification in the geological past in order to glimpse the future. That lecture was special, because there I first met Joop Varekamp, my best friend since geological fieldwork in southern France in the summer of 69, and now my husband of many years. Yes, carbonate equilibria can be scientifically fascinating as well as romantic. It is Joop, my colleague, collaborator, and co-author, who has strongly influenced and improved my scientific reasoning through our mutual exercises in communicating science across disciplines. Together we undertook scientific exploration in the smelly muds of Long Island Sound and collaborated in raising our children Dylan and Daphne, to whom I must apologize for long, boring dinner table talk with too much geology.

I am especially grateful that I have been awarded the Maurice Ewing medal because it may show others that it is possible to have a truly awarding career even when one does not “have it all.” I have never been able to get a tenured position, but I have been able to get what is most important to me, the opportunity to combine having a great family with engaging in exhilarating science, thanks to grant money from NSF, the USGS and EPA, and thanks to scientific ocean drilling (DSDP and IODP), which provided more material for study of past climate and environments than I can research in a lifetime. And last, I must acknowledge my favorite organisms, the foraminifera. More and more obscure trace elements and isotopes are measured on their small shells, but I am happy to see that they are getting the respect that they deserve as organisms, now that I have received a prestigious medal from a geophysical society just for counting microscopic shells. To foraminifera, my citationist Tim Bralower, the U.S. Navy, and AGU: thank you.

–Ellen Thomas, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, and Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT

Joseph Pedlosky was awarded the 2011 Maurice Ewing Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held on 7 December 2011 in San Francisco, Calif. The medal is for “significant original contributions to the scientific understanding of the processes in the ocean; for the advancement of oceanographic engineering, technology, and instrumentation; and for outstanding service to the marine sciences.”



Joseph Pedlosky is a giant in physical oceanography. He has made fundamental contributions to the theories of ocean circulation and has defined the field of geophysical fluid dynamics. His contributions to the field are not just from his 150 papers. His shaping of the fields of geophysical fluid dynamics, ocean circulation theory, and waves and stability is holistically presented in his three textbooks. Pedlosky is one of the few physical oceanographers whose work has had a huge influence not only in physical oceanography but also in other related fields, such as atmospheric sciences, planetary sciences, and, more generally, geophysical fluid dynamics. His most important contributions are in two areas.

The first area is theories of ocean general circulation. Pedlosky has made many pioneering contributions to the fundamental theories of ocean general circulation. Early on, he provided a novel explanation for the western intensification of ocean circulation in terms of the reflection properties of Rossby waves. This theory first demonstrates the physical process leading to western boundary intensification, a fundamental phenomenon in ocean general circulation. Later, he provided the theoretical foundation of laboratory experiments for oceanic circulation. He produced a theory for the nature of boundary layers in rotating stratified fluids and their application to coastal upwelling in linear and nonlinear models. In the 1980s he and his colleagues made a fundamental contribution to physical oceanography by developing the theory for the ventilated thermocline, laying the foundation for the modern dynamics of ocean general circulation.

The second area is instability theories in the ocean, atmosphere, and, more generally, rapidly rotating fluids. Pedlosky has proven several fundamental theorems regarding the instability of oceanic and atmospheric flows and produced the first model of a natural mode of instability that mimics the energy cycle of the oceanic eddies and atmospheric flows. He provided theories for spatial development of instabilities in the ocean and the radiation of energy to regions far from unstable currents. He presented the first deductive model of nonlinear baroclinic instability without friction and the first deductive model demonstrating the chaotic behavior of weakly nonlinear instabilities.

In addition to these original research studies, Pedlosky has made fundamental contributions to the overall development of the field of physical oceanography and related fields by writing several monumental monographs. His book Geophysical Fluid Dynamics provides the first systematic synthesis of almost all the fundamental theories of the dynamics of rapidly rotating fluids, such as the ocean and the atmosphere, and has been the educational foundation for new generations of physical oceanographers, meteorologists, and geophysical fluid dynamists worldwide. This book has been ranked as one of the top cited references in all the fields of geophysical fluid dynamics. His other books on ocean dynamics are also regarded as classical texts and reference books for the teaching and study of ocean circulation and waves. Finally, with his passion and devotion to education, Pedlosky has been a role model for educators through his exceptional lecturing and mentoring abilities.

His fundamental contribution has been recognized by numerous prestigious awards and memberships, including the Meisinger Award and the Sverdrup Gold Medal of the American Meteorological Society; a Fellow of AGU; a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and a Foreign Member of the Earth and Cosmic Sciences section of Academia Europaea.

—Zhengyu Liu, Center for Climate Research and Department of Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Paola Cessi, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla


I am deeply honored by the Maurice Ewing Medal. The vast scope of Maurice Ewing’s contributions can only make me feel humble in comparison.

As always, I am grateful to my mentors: Jule Charney, Melvin Stern, Eric Mollø-­Christensen, and Harvey Greenspan. Some of them are, alas, now beyond my power to thank directly. My gratitude to my colleagues at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Chicago, and Woods Hole extends to too many people to be able to name them all at this time, but my debt to them is immense. I am delighted to express my gratitude to all my students for the pleasure to have seen them flourish as keen, independent scientists and, particularly tonight, to Zhengyu Liu and Paola Cessi, who jointly nominated me for this award and collaborated to produce the very generous award citation.

Now, though, I want to thank a very special person: my wonderful wife, Holly. I have observed in the past that usually thanks are given to a spouse for putting up with an absent partner who spends many late nights in the lab or weeks at sea. As a theoretician, and one with limited mental stamina, I rarely worked in the evenings or on weekends, although brooding over a problem, or lack of one, can be full-time. We know the cycle of theoretical work: formulation, painful perplexity, the occasional epiphany, and the repeat of the cycle. What is less commented upon is the theoretician’s anguish in searching for a new, good problem. The fear that the last good problem is in fact the last good problem is oppressive. Reassurance that one has always found a new problem before is not convincing, because that speaks to history and not to the future. When Holly becomes aware that I am particularly grumpy, she knows it is because I am in that oneiric, half-awake state of confusion and anxiety. Somehow, for all these years, she has patiently helped shepherd me to the other side of that abyss, where I can emerge into the desired state of constructive perplexity. So I think she deserves most of the credit this evening.

One final thought: The calculation of the probability of intelligent life in the universe is a difficult one. A nearly infinite number of possible host planets and a near-zero probability of intelligent life on any one of them means that the product could indicate a single event: ours. After all, even here, the lengthy age of the dinosaurs produced no paintings of sunsets, no formulation of the Navier-Stokes equations (we had to wait for Navier and Stokes). If that is so, and we are alone in that regard, our responsibility is immense. It means that the universe is only conscious of itself by our agency. If we were not here, the universe would be like a cinema showing Casablanca on an endless loop to an empty theater. It is only through us that the universe can be self-aware, and if we were to blow ourselves up or render our planet uninhabitable for anything but the cockroaches, the universe might as well be empty.

We are often asked to describe the larger consequences of our work. I know of nothing more noble and important than serving as the self-awareness of the cosmos. Further, it is our communal effort, and especially for us as scientists it is one we need to take as a sacred trust. I am proud to be part of that effort and to place my small contributions into that mosaic of understanding we are constructing together.

Thank you.

—Joseph Pedlosky, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Mass.

William J. Jenkins was awarded the 2010 Maurice Ewing Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held on 15 December 2010 in San Francisco, Calif. The medal is for “significant original contributions to the scientific understanding of the processes in the ocean; for the advancement of oceanographic engineering, technology, and instrumentation; and for outstanding service to the marine sciences.”



William (Bill) Jenkins’s research record is remarkable for its exceptional quality, depth, and diversity, with major scientific findings spanning solid Earth geochemistry and physical, chemical, and biological oceanography. Few scientists can claim such substantial impact and recognition across so many different aspects of geoscience. He is the rare scientist who designs and builds new instruments, performs superb laboratory and field measurements, and generates novel data analysis and theoretical advances.

Bill is perhaps best known for pioneering the ocean tritium-3He dating method. In the early 1970s he developed mass spectrometric methods for measuring seawater tritium and its decay product 3He and was the first to envision how coupled tritium-3He measurements constrain the ventilation age for water parcels. He has made extensive use of tritium-3He to trace pathways and quantify rates of ocean circulation, combining in an elegant fashion transient tracer data, which inherently integrate over interannual to decadal time scales, with quantitative models and more traditional ocean physical velocity estimates.

In those early days it was not possible to purchase a 3He/4He ratio mass spectrometer; they had to be “homemade.” Bill has continued to push the boundaries for 3He mass spectrometry and sample collection, freely sharing new techniques now used by many other laboratories around the world.

Using tritium-3He ages, Bill introduced the essential element of time to quantify the evolution of upper ocean and subsurface biogeochemical fields. His work on oxygen and nutrient dynamics in the subtropical North Atlantic was paradigm shifting, overturning traditional wisdom based on 14C incubation studies that indicated low biological productivity and carbon export flux in oligotrophic oceans. He went on to develop a series of independent geochemical measures, all of which support elevated subtropical biological productivity.

Bill also has made fundamental contributions to solid Earth geochemistry. He made the first measurements of primordial 3He in mid-ocean ridge hydrothermal vent fluids. Using the relationship between heat and 3He, he made the first direct calculations of the global 3He outgassing rate from the ocean floor, an approach used widely to calculate geochemical fluxes from the ocean crust. Bill also pioneered the measurement of helium in oceanic basalts as a tracer of primordial gases in the mantle.

Bill is an excellent mentor for students and younger colleagues and a leader of the scientific community. He has played a significant leadership role in all of the major ocean chemistry and hydrographic programs over the past 30 years, including Geochemical Ocean Sections Study (-GEOSECS), Transient Tracers in the Ocean (TOS), South Atlantic Ventilation Experiment (SAVE), Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS), World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE), Surface Ocean Lower Atmosphere Study (­SOLAS), Climate Variability and Predictability (-CLIVAR/CO2), and -GEOTRACES, and he currently is director of the National Ocean Sciences Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Facility. In addition to his brilliance as a scientist, he is well known for his openness and (sometimes offbeat) sense of humor, all of which make him a great colleague.

Bill’s scientific accomplishments have been recognized through numerous awards including the Rosenstiel Award, Bigelow Medal, Huntsman Medal, the AGU Sverdrup Lecture, and his election as a Fellow of AGU, the Geochemical Society, and the European Association of Geochemistry. The Ewing Medal is a fitting tribute to his wide–ranging intellectual contributions and his meticulous measurement standards as an ocean chemist and physicist.

—SCOTT C. DONEY and MARK KURZ, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Mass.


I want to thank Scott Doney and Mark Kurz for their kind and generous comments and the award committee for accepting the nomination. I am deeply honored to receive the Maurice Ewing Medal. Many of us are motivated by the belief that what we do has some intrinsic value to society, but receiving recognition from our peers is an unanticipated and unparalleled joy, for it is our peers who understand the significance and challenges of our endeavors. At the same time, I am humbled when I look at the list of previous recipients. I am also grateful to the many people who have contributed so much; science does not happen in a vacuum. Many ideas have grown from spirited discussions with many of my colleagues. There are far too many to mention here, but you know who you are. I thank you for sharing ideas and inspiring me. Also, because some science does happen in a vacuum, I want to thank Dempsey Lott, who has worked with me for over 3 decades making things in the lab work much better than I possibly could. I owe him a lot. I especially would like to thank my former students for letting me play a role in their careers; working with them has been both a joy and a privilege. Finally, I owe it all to Susan, who keeps my rather large feet on the ground, even though my head is mostly in the clouds.

—WILLIAM J. JENKINS, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Mass.

H. Thomas Rossby was awarded the 2009 Maurice Ewing Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held on 16 December 2009 in San Francisco, Calif. The medal is for “significant original contributions to the scientific understanding of the processes in the ocean; for the advancement of oceanographic engineering, technology, and instrumentation; or outstanding service to marine science.”



Thomas Rossby pursues oceanography with unparalleled technical inventiveness, dogged persistence in fieldwork, and scientific insight. These were also qualities of Maurice Ewing, for whom this medal is named. Rossby’s work has given oceanography drifting and profiling devices, whose implementation in the field has returned a wealth of discoveries. Following the original Swallow float, he and Douglas Webb created the SOFAR (sound fixing and ranging) float, using long-range acoustics, which drifts with deep currents. This provided the first densely resolved, animated picture of the chaotic flow of the deep ocean, in the Mid-Ocean Dynamics Experiment of 1973. It was fitting that these new data revealed for the first time in the oceans the westward propagation of deep current features such as Rossby waves, which Tom’s illustrious father Carl-Gustav had developed analytically and observationally for the atmospheric circulation. Rossby waves are at the heart of the ocean’s general circulation, shaping and intensifying it into jets like the Gulf Stream. The SOFAR float sparked the invention of a long line of Lagrangian instruments, among them the isopycnal RAFOS floats of today. Lagrangian instruments, moving with the water, tell us about the restless movement of chemical tracers and biological communities in the sea. The Argo float developed by Russ Davis is in many ways a descendent of Tom’s drifting SOFAR floats. Argo floats are now a key contribution to global synoptic climate observations.

Rossby’s instruments are designed to confront some of the most difficult problems in oceanography. For example, RAFOS floats and inverted echo sounders have shown us the inner structure of the Gulf Stream. He is dedicated to high-quality observations, extensive in space and time. Instrumenting the freighter Oleander on a regular run between New York and Bermuda in 1992, he has collected high-quality acoustic Doppler velocity sections of the Gulf Stream ever since. Tom refers to “merchant vessels operating as ocean-level orbiting satellites.” Other such vessels are plying the subpolar Atlantic while his floats deep beneath the surface trace out the chaotic pathways of the ocean’s overturning circulation. These observations contribute much to our understanding of the complex and variable ocean contribution to global climate.

Tom received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1966 and worked at MIT, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), and Yale before joining the University of Rhode Island (URI), which provided him with the facilities for access to the sea. He has had a spectacular career at URI, where he has trained generations of graduate students. In spite of his monumental research contributions, he is extremely modest. He has received the Bigelow Gold Medal, the Suomi Award, and the Munk Award; is a fellow of several societies, one of which is AGU; and has been elected to the Norwegian Academy of Letters and Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as the National Academy of Engineering.

In conceiving new instruments and doing science with them, Rossby has been a role model for generations of students and younger colleagues. He is an avid and compassionate teacher and a warm and generous colleague.

—PETER B. RHINES, University of Washington, Seattle


Thank you, Peter, for your very generous remarks. It is a tremendous honor to receive the AGU Maurice Ewing Medal and a great pleasure to acknowledge my colleagues and students who partnered in this engineering and scientific journey. Without them I would not be here today.

Growing up in a natural science–oriented family in Sweden, I was given opportunities to climb mountains and glaciers as a child and study cloud convection as a teenager. In the spring, my father and I would search for wild orchids on the island of Gotland. Sadly, he passed away the summer I graduated from high school. Later, as my studies in applied physics at the Royal Institute of Technology were coming to an end, my mother, who had returned to the United States, George Veronis, and Joe Pedlosky all urged me to come to graduate school here. I was tired of the continual gruel of homework and wanted to get cracking on my career, but I agreed to give it a try. My wife-to-be was also keen to come to the United States.

While still in graduate school at MIT, Henry Stommel invited me to join him and Doug Webb in developing the SOFAR float technology to study ocean currents, a dream of his for many years. I was one of many who benefited from Hank’s wonderful way of enticing people into the field and letting them loose. Doug Webb was a fantastic mentor and collaborator, and I am indebted to him for instilling a sense of the possible—seeing solutions rather than problems. As head of the engineering group at WHOI, Doug played a major role in developing the broad suite of observational tools we have today in physical oceanography.

Some of the names that follow may not be familiar to you, but they played key roles in our activities over the years. First, I thank Martin Mork for insightful discussions in my formative years; he also encouraged me to develop YVETTE, an early generation Richardson number profiler. I thank Don Dorson for his work on the Pegasus velocity profiler; later, he and Jim Fontaine developed the RAFOS float. Jim also played a key role in developing the isopycnal float technology—we had a lot of fun at this.

The science side evolved in partnership with many wonderful students including Amy Bower, Henrik Søiland, Arthur Mariano, Steve Riser, and Paula Perez-Brunius. I must also mention past and present postdocs and colleagues Howard Freeland, Kuh Kim, Jim Price, Mary-Elena Carr, Olaf Boebel, Mark Prater, Dave Hebert, Randy Watts, and Godi Fischer. Honestly, this honor is every bit theirs as mine!

Finally, I must mention John Knauss, dean of the Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO), who invited me to join the GSO faculty at URI; it has been a fantastic place in which to work and grow. I thank my sponsors, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the U.S. National Science Foundation, for their support over the years. Again, I thank AGU and ONR for the Maurice Ewing Medal. This is a truly a tremendous honor!

—H. THOMAS ROSSBY, Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, Narragansett

Miriam Kastner was awarded the 2008 Maurice Ewing Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held 17 December 2008 in San Francisco, Calif. The medal is “for significant original contributions to the scientific understanding of the processes in the ocean; for the advancement of oceanographic engineering technology, and instrumentation; or outstanding service to marine science.”



It is an honor and a great personal pleasure to introduce Miriam Kastner as the recipient of the 2008 AGU Maurice Ewing Medal. Her major contributions to understanding the marine sediment record and ocean chemistry have resulted from tireless fieldwork at sea combined with thoughtful experiments and exacting analytical and theoretical studies.

Miriam gained her first degree at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, followed by her Ph.D. at Harvard and postdoctoral research at Chicago before moving to the Geoscience Research Division of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Her earliest major work focused on the origin of authigenic feldspars and of zeolites in oceanic sediments. Next she explained the diagenetic transformations of opal-A to opal-CT and quartz, of crucial importance to the formation of siliceous marine deposits. She showed that dolomite formation is controlled by its associated pore-fluid geochemistry, solving what had been a nagging problem in carbonate mineral science. Her groundbreaking work on the Sr distribution coefficient was crucial in establishing strontium concentrations in calcite as a widely used indicator for carbonate recrystallization, and a fundamental indicator for all paleoclimate studies that depend on carbonate proxies. Her work on phosphate deposits completely revised ideas on the stability of P-O bonds in the phosphate ions in apatite and led to a recalculation of the ocean residence time of phosphorus. Her use of barite to evaluate processes in Cenozoic climate change is a further example of the combination of mineralogical and geochemical expertise she brings to solving important scientific problems.

Miriam published the first paper on the hydrothermal system in the Guaymas Basin on ocean drilling, and was involved in the expedition that found the first hydrothermal springs at 21°N East Pacific Rise. She described the formation of talc at Guaymas and calculated a 300°C fluid temperature and positive δ18O of the fluid. Her work on the mineralogy and genesis of hydrothermal marine deposits is unsurpassed.

In technology and instrumentation she has been an important advocate of in situ experiments on a grand scale in her research on fluid transport in the oceanic lithosphere and the formation of gas hydrates at convergent margins. She was involved in development of the Osmo sample flowmeter that was successfully deployed in the Costa Rica decollement.

Her dedication, persistence, and passion for her work are exemplary. Miriam’s tireless commitment and her insistence on the highest standards have become legendary. Current geologic folklore associated with the ocean drilling programs is full of stories about Miriam’s commitment and diligence. Her service to the marine geoscience community is equally remarkable. She has served on dozens of key national and international advisory panels and editorial boards for prestigious journals, acting as an outspoken advocate for science of the highest quality. She has acted as role model for young scientists, promoting excellence.

For her long-standing record of research excellence and productivity, for her leadership roles in scientific ocean drilling and in marine geosciences overall, and for her resulting profound influence on the field of marine geochemistry from her influential publications, Miriam Kastner is a most worthy recipient of the Maurice Ewing medal for 2008.

—HENRY ELDERFIELD, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK


I am deeply honored to receive the AGU Maurice Ewing Medal, an award without equal in oceanography. First, my thanks go to my colleague Harry Elderfield, for his very generous introduction. I am fortunate to have been able to work with great colleagues like Harry, and with numerous talented and energetic graduate students and postdoctorate fellows at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), some of whom are here today. They rapidly became research partners with whom I have explored a spectrum of topics, with emphasis on the various aspects of marine sediment geochemistry, authigenesis and diagenesis, with implications for chemical paleoceanography, submarine hydrothermal deposits, the role of fluids and C cycling in convergent margins, and the significance of gas hydrates for slope stability and global change. Without these individuals I would not be standing here today.

I started as an undergraduate student at the Hebrew University, in Jerusalem, Israel, and was fortunate to receive a generous scholarship from Harvard University for the duration of my stay there, where the challenge to understand complex processes and to focus on the broad perspectives was stimulating and rewarding. I had an eminent advisory committee that consisted of Robert Garrels, Ray Siever, Jim Thompson, and Clifford Frondel. When I was about to finish my Ph.D. at Harvard University, the future looked rather cloudy for graduates of my gender. Fortunately, unexpectedly new forward blowing winds came, and I was fortunate to be invited to join the enlightened faculty of SIO, who had a profound influence on my career. They provided me with extraordinary possibilities to engage in new research with state-of-the-art facilities and extensive seagoing opportunities.

Although I did not have the chance to know Maurice Ewing, I feel greatly privileged to receive an award in his name and share his passion of ocean exploration. This is a great honor that motivates me to continue to pursue the excitement of ocean research.

I have had the fortune of working with many excellent colleagues and collaborators at SIO and at numerous national and international universities and institutions.

In addition to my citationist, I would like to thank my margins colleagues; the work on continental margins, one of my focus research areas in recent years, is within a framework of several important discoveries. Through combining observations, modeling, theory, and experiments, enormous progress in understanding this dynamic system was made in recent years. This research provided me with many seagoing opportunities, a wonderful and challenging experience, during which deep friendships were established. Part of this award goes to these colleagues and to the support staff who make expeditions successful.

In addition to research and education, serving on numerous national and international committees was one way to return the generous support and opportunities I received since I came to the United States.

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the long-term financial support of my research by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Ocean Sciences, the NSF Division of Earth Sciences, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Office of Naval Research.

I deeply regret that my late husband could not share this moment with me.

In closing, I wish to express my extreme gratitude to AGU for this award.

—MIRIAM KASTNER, University of California, San Diego

Marcia Kemper McNutt was awarded the 2007 Maurice Ewing Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, which was held on 12 December 2007 in San Francisco, Calif. The medal is ”for significant original contributions to the scientific understanding of the processes in the ocean; for the advancement of oceanographic engineering technology, and instrumentation; or outstanding service to marine science.“



It is a great honor for me to have the opportunity to deliver this citation for Marcia K. McNutt, the 2007 recipient of AGU’s Maurice Ewing Medal. Marcia has made a significant contribution to our understanding of the structure of oceanic lithosphere, served in leadership roles in the marine scientific community, and instigated new directions and technologies for ocean exploration.

Marcia received her undergraduate degree in physics and studied for the Ph.D. with Bob Parker and the late Bill Menard at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Her thesis led to two seminal papers on oceanic and continental isostasy. The first showed that flexure due to a young volcanic load could influence the subsidence and uplift history of nearby, preexisting volcanoes. This hypothesis, which explains why some seamounts and oceanic islands show uplift rather than subsidence, has had wide implications for basin development and sea level change. The second used 3-D spectral methods of analyzing topography and gravity data to argue that the Australian lithosphere responds to loads as a relatively strong structure at short time-scales and a weak one at long geological times. This method is now widely used and is at the center of current debates concerning the rheology and strength of continental lithosphere.

This early work led Marcia to a career-long interest in the Earth’s topography, gravity, and stress state. Marcia was the first to use the Brace-Goetz failure envelopes to show that subducting oceanic plates become ”moment saturated“ as they approach a deep-sea trenchouter rise system and therefore that they would yield, irrespective of their thermal age. She was also the first to use 3-D spectral methods to estimate the effective elastic thickness of young oceanic lithosphere, to use linear filters to determine the compensation depth of midplate topographic swells, and to document the evidence for the existence of a South Pacific ”superswell.“

In recent years, Marcia has assumed an increasing leadership role in the ocean sciences. She has contributed as a panelist in the Ocean Drilling Program, a member of ocean-related National Research Council committees, and, more recently, a governor of the Joint Oceanographic Institutions. She has served the AGU as a meticulous reviewer for its journals, president of its Tectonophysics section, and, most recently, president. Currently, Marcia is president and chief executive officer of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California, and it has been under her leadership that the institute has emerged as one of the world’s leading centers in ocean technology, especially in the design and construction of new tethered and robotic underwater vehicles and in situ sensor packages for sampling the ocean and its biota.

Marcia is passionate about her work and has been an inspiration to students and early career scientists alike. She has gone out of her way to engage others, as is evidenced by her work on topics as diverse as the role of women in science and science education in schools. I was lucky enough to have met Maurice Ewing and to have experienced firsthand his enthusiasm for unraveling the secrets of the ocean floor. Marcia, through her intellect, dedication, and courage, embodies much of that spirit.

—ANTHONY B. WATTS, University of Oxford


Thank you, Tony, and thank you to the U.S. Navy and AGU.

Anything I have achieved I owe to the convergence of three factors. The first is the extremely supportive environment during my career-building years at MIT, under the alert mentorship of department heads extraordinaire Bill Brace and Tom Jordan. Bill realized long before I did that a Radcliffe fellowship to buy me out of teaching for a year would be a really good idea while I was expecting the twins. Thanks to that brilliant, preemptive move, I published seven papers that year, won the Macelwane Medal, and soon after earned tenure. Tom patiently taught me, and showed by example, how to do what counts. When I arrived at MIT there was only one woman on the faculty in my department; when I left 15 years later, there were five confident women leading the way for others in the School of Science.

The second factor was Tony Watts himself. As was so aptly demonstrated by the failed experiment of the Soviet economic system, absent competition we seldom reach our highest potential. For many years my group at MIT and Tony’s at Lamont were working on similar classes of problems, and there was a friendly rivalry back and forth to be the first to come up with the explanation for some vexing observation or a more elegant solution to a difficult computation. Whether reviews came from Tony himself or from a student or postdoc, they were always polite, professional, constructive, and helpful. These ways of behaving are set from the top down, and become for generations after the accepted way for practitioners in that field to behave. We benefited from having had a true gentleman like Tony leading the field in marine geo-physics. Not all fields have been so fortunate.

The final, and probably most important, factor has been my family. My mother, who is with me tonight, and my father, who is with me in spirit, allowed me to pursue every dream, unfettered, regardless of whether they understood anything I was doing! In some cosmic coincidence, I met my wonderful husband, Ian Young, on the Maurice Ewing (the vessel, not the man or the medal), and ever since he has been the captain of my heart, piloting it to tranquil harbors. I have been blessed with three perfect daughters, and through their achievements I’ve been able to enjoy, vicariously, accomplishments it was simply not possible to fit into one lifetime.

I don’t know what moment of temporary insanity 10 years ago led the MBARI board of directors to entrust an institution heavily invested in marine biology to a midcareer marine geophysicist with no adminis-trative experience. But it has been a wonderful ride, working with those entrusted with David Packard’s legacy to see his dreams come alive! MBARI, with its emphasis on ocean exploration, technology development, and in situ ocean instrumentation, is Maurice Ewing’s kind of place. This medal, in Ewing’s image, is going to feel right at home. Thank you all, very much!

—MARCIA KEMPER MCNUTT, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, Calif.

G. Michael Purdy was awarded the Maurice Ewing Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting honors ceremony, which was held on 13 December 2006 in San Francisco, Calif. The medal recognizes significant original contributions to the scientific understanding of the processes in the ocean; for the advancement of oceanographic engineering technology and instrumentation; or outstanding service to marine science.



It is an honor for me to deliver the citation for G. Michael Purdy, the 2006 recipient of AGU’s Maurice Ewing Medal. Mike Purdy has made significant and original contributions to our understanding of ocean crustal structure, been an innovative developer of marine seismic instrumentation, and served for over two decades as an important leader of the oceanographic community.

Mike received his undergraduate training in physics, and studied for his Ph.D with Drum Matthews at the renowned Bullard Laboratory at Cambridge University (U.K.). He arrived at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI; Mass.) in 1974, and over the next two decades Mike and a succession of outstanding students spearheaded efforts to elucidate the seismic structure of ocean crust. They demonstrated that crust beneath oceanic fracture zones is generally much thinner than crust beneath normal seafloor, carried out the first three-dimensional crustal seismic tomography experiment on the East Pacific Rise, and determined the fine structure of upper oceanic crust and its variation with age. Purdy and Sean Solomon, his close colleague then at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT; Cambridge), and their students conducted a series of pioneering microseismicity studies along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge providing important new insight into the state of stress and thermal structure of this slow spreading ridge.

At Woods Hole, Mike assembled a team of engineers and technicians whose reputations for developing innovative new approaches for making seismic measurements at sea remain unsurpassed. In the late 1970s this group constructed the first low-cost, reliable ocean-bottom hydrophone instruments for active-source, seismic refraction studies. He designed, built, and operated a novel, deep-towed explosive seismic source that allowed high-resolution measurements of the shallow ocean crust. In the 1980s he led a multi-institution group that with support from the U.S. Office of Naval Research designed and built the first standard U.S. instrument for ocean-bottom seismology. The successors to these pioneering instruments are today revolutionizing low-frequency, ocean-bottom seismometry in much the same way that PASSCAL broadband, portable seismometers revolutionized seismology on land.

The third component of Purdy’s profound contributions to the ocean sciences has been his scientific leadership. He was chair of the Geology and Geophysics Department at WHOI from 1991 to 1995. Moving to the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) in 1995, Mike initiated an NSF-wide Life in Extreme Environments (LEXEN) Program and established the innovative Centers for Ocean Science Educational Excellence (COSEE). He formed an international planning group for a new Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) and tirelessly oversaw that planning effort. He strongly supported the establishment of ocean observatories, and helped lay the foundation for NSF’s Ocean Observatories Initiative. Mike is currently the director of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (Columbia University, Palisades, N.Y.), the institution Maurice Ewing founded. In all of these endeavors, Mike has earned the respect of his colleagues for his vision, fairness, and ability to navigate complex issues.

The Ewing Medal is unique among AGU awards in that the citation recognizes, in equal measure, scientific accomplishments, technical innovation, and community leadership. I can think of no ocean scientist who is more deserving of this honor on all three counts than Mike Purdy.

—ROBERT S. DETRICK, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Mass.


Thank you, Tony, and thank you to the U.S. Navy and AGU.

I appreciate deeply the recognition that the Maurice Ewing Medal conveys, and I sincerely thank AGU and the U.S. Navy for this honor.

It is often said, and it is certainly true in my case, that whatever success I have achieved has been due, always and primarily, to the help, guidance, and support of friends, colleagues, and students. So this great honor that I am now receiving is shared with many tens of people who have helped and inspired me over the years.

I consider the beginning of my career in this magnificent business of Earth and ocean sciences to be the summer of 1968, when, as a physics undergraduate at Imperial College London (U.K.), Tony Laughton gave me a summer job at the National Institute of Oceanography, in Wormley, England. I had the privilege of going to sea that summer with the legendary John Swallow, deploying current meter moorings in the Bay of Biscay. From there, after 6 months at Bedford Institute of Oceanography, in Dartmouth, Canada, through my graduate studies with Drum Matthews at the University of Cambridge in the U.K., the glory days working with John Ewing at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the enlightenment of 5 years at the U.S. National Science Foundation, and now the privilege of leading one of the great research institutions, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (Columbia University, Palisades, N.Y.), it is difficult to recall making a tough career decision. In each case an opportunity that seemed irresistible appeared at the right time.

Having spent the bulk of my research career collecting data from ocean floor instruments and being dependent for success upon the reliable operation of a myriad of complex electronic and mechanical systems, I very firmly do not believe in luck as a controlling force in the natural world. But I have to admit that I find myself where I am today due to a remarkable coincidence of multiple fortunate circumstances.

This profession remains a source of constant and profound joy for me; every week I learn something new about the world that helps me understand what I see and experience around me. I do not need to know at that very moment why a particular piece of new knowledge is important—that is not always knowable; but for me, and for most of us I am sure, just the act of understanding, the knowing why, is its own reward. I am convinced that this natural curiosity is one of humankind’s most important, fundamental, and long-standing survival systems. The passion that our species has for understanding the forces that control what it sees and feels and hears is what has allowed us to thrive on this planet for hundreds of thousands of years as modes of living have changed dramatically, long before the professions of philosophy and science were invented. We must celebrate this natural curiosity as a force of good and nurture its growth as a necessary component of our continued successful occupation of this planet.

Once again, I emphasize that I share this medal, named for the founding director of the institution I now have the privilege to lead, and whose boundless curiosity set the foundations for several different key research areas within our field; I share this honor with all my research assistants, technicians, engineers, colleagues, students, and postdocs, without whom none of the research or other accomplishments associated with my name would have been possible.

—G. MICHAEL PURDY, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, N.Y.

François M. M. Morel received the Ewing Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, which was held on 7 December 2005, in San Francisco, Calif. The medal is given for significant original contributions to the scientific understanding of the processes in the ocean; for the advancement of oceanographic engineering, technology, and instrumentation; and for outstanding service to marine sciences.



François Morel has led the search to understand the role of metals in the ocean, starting with a focus on inorganic processes and aquatic chemistry, and leading to a blend of geochemistry, microbiology, biochemistry, and genetics. His influence comes from his research and from the way he has educated an entire community of scientists with his textbooks, with his teaching, and through his former students and postdocs who hold faculty positions at universities throughout the world.

The list of past Maurice Ewing Medal recipients includes famous geologists, geophysicists, geochemists, and oceanographers, but François is the first one from the field of biogeochemistry. François’ greatest legacy may be in helping to establish this field, and in the demonstration that biochemistry, genetics, and microbiology, in addition to aquatic chemistry and geochemistry, are critical for understanding the oceans.

For 20 years, François taught in the civil and environmental engineering department at MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge]. His course on aquatic chemistry regularly drew students from engineering and Earth sciences; many comment that it was a formative experience in their training.

Over this time, François developed thermodynamic models for metal adsorption on minerals, and for metal binding to organic compounds. He demonstrated the importance of chemical speciation in modulating the uptake, toxicity, and nutrition of trace elements to aquatic microorganisms, particularly marine phytoplankton. He demonstrated, studied, and championed the role of photoredox processes—homogeneous and heterogeneous—in the aquatic chemistry, geochemistry, and biological availability of iron in the ocean. He established the principal biochemical roles of zinc, cobalt, nickel, and, unexpectedly, cadmium in marine phytoplankton.

Any one of these accomplishments would constitute a distinguished career. Taken together, what emerges is a grand vision, grounded in fundamentals of inorganic chemistry and embracing the scientific revolution in molecular biology and biochemistry. François wants to understand in a mechanistic sense how life in the ocean depends on the chemical environment, and how life shapes it. And he wants to share that vision with others.

In 1994, François moved to Princeton University [Princeton, N.J.] to develop an interdisciplinary program in marine biogeochemistry. To this end, he recruited students from five different departments, and works with them to apply his insights not only to the modern ocean, but also to the history of the oceans and life, asking why certain organisms evolved when they did, and how their appearance in turn affected the oceans.

For those who have interacted with François, it is difficult to avoid catching his infectious enthusiasm for science. He approaches scientific problems with curiosity and playfulness, bringing along his own joie de vivre and his limitless energy. His former students and postdocs are so numerous that it is difficult to count them, especially as there are many of us who refer to François as our mentor, despite never having an official affiliation. On behalf of all of those influenced by his science, his teaching, and his friendship, it is an honor to introduce him as the recipient of the 2005 Maurice Ewing Medal.

—DANIEL P. SCHRAG, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


Thank you, Dan, for your thoughtful and much too flattering citation. You are a brilliant scientist whose energy and generosity never cease to amaze your colleagues and friends.

Unlike Dan and many readers of Eos, I was not particularly destined to be an oceanographer, or a geochemist, or even a scientist. As a young man growing up near Paris, I did not know you could make a living thinking thoughts, puttering with test tubes, talking to students, writing papers, and never doing any real work. Certainly my Dad did not know it, and he is still skeptical. But what will impress him (and I will make sure to tell him) is that the Maurice Ewing Medal is jointly sponsored by the U.S. Navy. That is an enterprise to reckon with. But fate—mostly in the form of a few people—intervened in my life. First Jim Morgan, my friend and mentor at Caltech [California Institute of Technology, Pasadena], showed me that science is fun. And my one year of study in America became 38… and counting.

Then environmental chemistry and luck landed me in the Parsons Lab at MIT. There, I was lured by the excitement of the joint program with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution [WHOI, Mass.]. And little by little I began to learn: from Penny Chisholm, who soon joined the faculty of the Parsons Lab; from the folks across the street in the Green Building; from people dwelling around Eel Pond in Woods Hole where I would drive every so often. We were all very young then, but most will remember.

Truly talented students and postdocs kept coming through, some for short stints, some for longer periods. Since I cannot name them all, I won’t name any. But many will surpass my achievements, and you will see their pictures also popping up in Eos and other publications. They made my research group a fun place to work and play, especially for me. Trite but true: They really did the work for which I am being honored today.

Over the years, it has been wonderful to benefit from the friendship and inspiration of many colleagues, near and far. I shall name only a few: Bill Sunda [U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Beaufort, N.C.] and Neil Price [McGill University, Montreal, Canada], my co-conspirators in trace metal and phytoplankton work; Ken Bruland [University of California, Santa Cruz] and Jim Moffett [WHOI], the most exacting of oceanographers, who always made room for us on their cruises; Alison Butler [University of California, Santa Barbara], who inspired me to do better chemistry; and Penny Chisholm and Bess Ward [Princeton University], who inspired me to do better biology.

Finally, I am thankful to my colleagues at Princeton, in geosciences and in other departments. They made room for a noisy and motley crew of chemists, biologists, and engineers in the midst of Guyot Hall. They inspired us to identify and tackle new problems; increasingly important, I hope; increasingly fun, I know.

I thank AGU and ONR [Office of Naval Research] for this medal, and those responsible for my nomination.

—FRANÇOIS M. M. MOREL, Princeton University

Bruce A. Warren received the Ewing Medal at the 2004 Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony on 15 December, in San Francisco, California. The medal is given for significant original contributions to the scientific understanding of the processes in the ocean; for the advancement of oceanographic engineering, technology, and instrumentation; and for outstanding service to marine sciences.



Bruce Warren is a physical oceanographer and scientist emeritus at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where he has spent his entire career. Few can claim to have personally unearthed so many distinct elements of the World Ocean circulation as Bruce. At the beginning of his career, oceanographers were working out the implications of the still relatively fresh idea that the large-scale circulation tends to concentrate flow at the western boundary of ocean basins in strong western boundary currents like the Gulf Stream and Kuroshio. During his Ph.D. years, Stommel and Arons published their simple but far-reaching dynamical framework for deep circulation in the ocean, and these concepts and extensions were nowhere better tested than in Bruce’s field investigations of deep circulation in almost every major ocean basin in the world. Bruce never failed to point out how, for good reason, other explanations were usually less compelling. His application of Occam’s Razor to all work, including his own, is fierce and famous.

Bruce’s career has truly been a voyage of discovery. He has single-handedly found numerous major deep currents, previously unknown or at best sketchily observed in nearly all the world ocean’s major basins. The Indian Ocean has been a favorite: currents in the Madagascar and Mascarene Basins, the Southwest and Central Indian Ridges, and the 90E Ridge. In the Pacific, he revealed flow on the East Pacific Rise and above the Aleutian Trench and Rise.

To many, Bruce is a hydrographer—a self-described student of property distributions; but direct current measurements have played an important role wherever possible and practicable. Among his most recent works is the discovery of high-frequency boundary current oscillations owing to Rossby wave resonance that dominate western boundary current behavior in the Indian Ocean and that perhaps are pertinent to most western boundary regimes.

At the same time, Bruce from the beginning has developed theories to back up his observations, where existing theory was lacking.

He developed a model for the structure of a western boundary current in the Pacific based on density diffusion—quite unlike the property-conserving theories of Stommel and others—and a lasting theory for the pathway of western boundary currents.

Bruce respected fundamental contributions of numerical models and carried out a study of the global deep oxygen minimum as a complement to early work by Mike Cox on the role of the Drake Passage. This study linked the global water mass structure to the Drake Passage constraint on the ventilation of the deep ocean.

Finally, Bruce has a remarkable range of interests. Equally absorbing to him are the paintings of Arthur Cohen, the string quartets of Phillip Glass, and westward propagating disturbances in deep current meter records. He will describe in detail the fern-leaved false foxglove, the great crested flycatcher, and the reign of the Emperor Hadrian.

The award of the Maurice Ewing Medal gives us the opportunity to show the depth of Bruce Warren’s contribution to ocean science and to our community, and the high value of impeccable scholarship.

—KEVIN SPEER, Florida State University, Tallahassee


Thank you, Kevin, for your flattering, if perhaps slightly mischievous, remarks. I got into oceanography through an undergraduate summer job at Woods Hole. I didn’t know what oceanography was, but my freshman physics teacher, Arnold Arons, worked there summers, and Cape Cod sounded like an agreeable place for summer vacation. He said a bright, young friend of his had a lot of routine chores that needed doing—plotting points, desk-calculator work—which I could do if I wanted. The bright, young friend was Hank Stommel. Halfway through the summer he ran out of chores, so he sent me off to sea with Fritz Fuglister on the Atlantis. I loved that. After another summer or two at Woods Hole, I decided that water-catching was an honorable profession, and that physical oceanography could be a lively vocation, with opportunities to go to sea and to observe and think simple physics about intriguing phenomena. That’s how it turned out. But that first summer was certainly the most important in my life, when by happy accident I came to know the three men who would have by far the dominant influence on my professional life.

I was also lucky, though unaware of it, to be entering oceanography just when the Cold War was expanding financial support for scientific research. The competition was political, cultural, and intellectual, as well as military, and program managers at the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation had broad views about funding basic, exploratory research. These circumstances stimulated the construction of large research vessels that could leave their home waters and work the world ocean.

I was fortunate as well that while I was a graduate student Stommel and Arons proposed their revolutionary schematics for the deep-ocean circulation, based on the notions of geostrophy, widespread upwelling, and boundary currents. Their ideas suggested radically different circulations from those then imagined, but they made clear physical sense. The schematics were rudimentary enough that they could be applied to real ocean basins to interpret ambiguous data and to make predictions testable with lines of hydrographic stations and current meters. The testing seemed a worthwhile thing to do.

Moreover, in the 1960s, the deep Pacific and Indian Oceans hadn’t been explored in any detail at all, so the Stommel-Arons physics offered some strategic guidance for making critical observations that could disclose a great deal about the deep circulations there. The conjunction with Cold War funding made possible the long, distant exploratory cruises that were required.

So in an unsystematic way, and with digressions, I’ve been trying to uncover pieces of the deep-ocean circulation for most of my adult life. The effort has allowed me to work in and learn and write about all the oceans except the Arctic. I value collaborations I’ve had with several smart, congenial colleagues, the expert support of some technical people, and the company of lots of good shipmates. And I’m very grateful to AGU and ONR for this award, especially to the people who made and supported the nomination.

—BRUCE A. WARREN, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Mass.

Gerard C. Bond was awarded the Ewing Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, which was held on 10 December 2003, in San Francisco, California. The medal honors “significant original contributions to the scientific understanding of the processes in the ocean; for the advancement of oceanographic engineering, technology, and instrumentation; and for outstanding service to marine sciences.”



“In 1991, a set of curious white layers in Deep Sea Drilling Project core 609 captured Gerard Bond’s attention, launching him on the path that has resulted in this award. He confirmed Hartmut Heinrich’s assessment that these layers consisted of ice-rafted debris dropped by the melting of armadas of icebergs from eastern Canada. He looked at the ice-borne entities in the glacial sediment between the Heinrich layers and discovered that the ratio of red (i.e., iron-stained) grains to total grains swung between limits of about 17 and about 4%. The spacing between the maxima of this quasi-cycle averaged 1500 years. Extending his measurements into the Holocene, Gerard found that despite the dramatic drop in grain abundance, the swing in grain composition continued with no significant change in limits or duration. Bond reasoned that as the sources of the red grains were located largely in the Arctic, the red-grain maxima represented cold episodes. The payoff came when, working with Bernd Kromer and Jurg Beer, he demonstrated that the red-grain maxima corresponded to times of maximum production of both 14C and 10Be. Because the production rate of these cosmogenic isotopes is modulated by the heliomagnetic field, this suggests that Earth climate is perturbed by changes in the Sun’s radiation output. If correct, this finding raises difficult questions. How is it that tiny changes in solar irradiance associated with sunspot activity have led to 1 degrees C swings in Holocene temperature? Were the jumps in glacial climate from one state to another paced by the Sun?

“In 1962, after graduating from Capital University, Gerard went to Alaska to study glaciers with Troy Pewe. More interested, though, in geology around the glaciers, he did his master’s thesis on regional Alaskan geology and continued that work for his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin. He taught geology first at Williams College, and later at the University of California at Davis. After moving to Lamont in 1980, he began fieldwork that led to his reconstruction of an early Paleozoic supercontinent. In the late 1980s, Gerard used a technique invented by Michelle Kominz to test for Milankovitch forcing of cycles in Paleozoic and Mesozoic stratigraphic sequences. To test this methodology, he produced with Michelle digital grey-scale records of a North Atlantic deep sea core (DSDP 609). He sent me a proposal he and Michelle had submitted that contained photos of core 609. I pointed out to Gerard that the color banding on Milankovitch timescales was punctuated by distinct, narrow dark bands that might be the marine imprint of Dansgaard/Oeschger cycles. The rest is history.

“I could not be more pleased that Gerard Bond is receiving this award. He is a gifted researcher who followed his intuition that locked in the record of ice-rafted rock fragments is a treasure trove of information. Nature carefully guarded her secrets, and only with enormous effort was he able to pry them loose. Maurice Ewing would, I’m sure, fully share my opinion, for Gerard Bond walks very close to Doc’s footprints.”

—WALLACE S. BROECKER, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, N.Y.


“Thank you for those generous words, Wally, and I thank the AGU committee for this splendid award named in honor of Lamont’s founder and first director.

“I never met Maurice Ewing, but my office is near one of his greatest legacies: the Lamont-Doherty Deep Sea Sample Repository. Over the years this library of some 8000 deep-sea cores and dredge hauls has helped launch or advance the careers of hundreds of students and professionals including myself. Indeed, the first convincing match of ocean surface temperatures to the full series of dramatic Dansgaard/Oeschger temperature variations above Greenland came from our group’s analyses of an old workhorse, VM23-81, that was collected in 1966 by Lamont’s R.V. VEMA.

“Relative to most of my colleagues and coworkers in my age group, I am truly a newcomer to the field of paleoceanography. For well more than half of my professional career I was a ‘real geologist’ working on projects that were far removed from the ocean. As Wally mentioned, serendipity played a huge part in my conversion when in the late 1980s he read a proposal submitted by a colleague and myself to use a deep-sea core (DSDP 609) color record to test a method of identifying orbital cycles in Cambrian rocks. Wally rushed into my office telling me that the core’s color record instead revealed the long-sought marine imprint of Greenland’s Dansgaard/Oeschger cycles. I had never heard of Dansgaard/Oeschger cycles, but Wally and other Lamont paleoclimatologists, in particular Rick Fairbanks, managed to convince me that they were much more interesting than Cambrian cycles. By the early 1990s, I had shifted my research from rocks to deep-sea mud.

“In this new field I was surrounded by a baffling array of machines with flashing red lights, toxic chemicals, and coworkers who spoke the languages of chemists, physical oceanographers, and modelers. Fortunately, in North Atlantic deep-sea cores, the first I worked on, I saw something familiar. The assemblages of lithic grains dropped by melting icebergs were much the same as those in sedimentary rocks, the petrology of which was one of my first geological specialties. With only a petrographic microscope as my ‘machine,’ I found fascinating changes in the petrologic composition of the ice-rafted grains. Those changes documented the remarkable extent of Heinrich events in the North Atlantic, revealed a series of rapid, climate-related iceberg discharges that matched Greenland’s Dansgaard/Oeschger cycles, and most recently led to the possibility that changes in solar activity might underlie a series of rapid oscillations punctuating virtually all of the North Atlantic’s Holocene climate record.

“I owe a great debt of gratitude to Bernd Kromer, who first convinced me that the Sun-climate connection was worth pursuing, and encouraged me to undertake what became an arduous two-and-a-half-year-long effort to test that connection. I also must thank my wife, Rusty, curator of Lamont’s core library, for her patience, for her invaluable help on my coring cruises, and for her contributions to many of my papers.”

—GERARD C. BOND, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, N.Y.

Nicholas Shackleton was awarded the Ewing Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, which was held on 8 December 2002, in San Francisco, California. The medal is given for significant original contributions to the scientific understanding of the processes in the ocean; for the advancement of oceanographic engineering, technology, and instrumentation; and for outstanding service to marine sciences.



“Professor Sir Nicholas Shackleton, as he is now entitled to be known, received a Ph.D. from Cambridge University in 1967 with a thesis entitled The Measurement of Paleotemperatures in the Quaternary Era. As part of this work, he developed methods in stable isotope mass spectrometry that included redesigning and rebuilding a mass spectrometer to be capable of analyzing very small samples. The importance of this technical breakthrough to the nascent science of paleoceanography cannot be underestimated. However, it is through the insightful use of this technology that Nick earned his scientific ‘spurs.’ His first big impact on our scientific thinking was in a comparison of the oxygen isotopes in shells of deep-sea benthic and planktonic foraminifera taken from the same tropical Pacific core samples. In this study, he showed that the glacial-interglacial range of isotopic values in shells of species living near the ocean surface and those that lived at great depth were very similar. From this, he deduced that the primary isotopic signal being measured must be dominated by changes in global ice volume, rather than by changes in water temperature. This elegant and simple experiment laid to rest a long, and at times acrimonious, debate as to which of these two factors was dominant.

“In the mid-1970s, Nick was a key player in an effort to map the sea surface temperatures of the last glacial maximum (CLIMAP) and to provide a ‘snapshot’ of the glacial world that would be of use to global climate modelers. Not only did his efforts provide the chronostratigraphy that enabled such a reconstruction to be achieved in all the ocean basins sampled; he also helped link the land record to the terrestrial record through the study on near-shore cores containing both foraminifera and pollen. Another important outcome of this collaborative effort was a demonstration that the ‘pacemaker’ of long-term climate change has been changes in the Earth’s orbit. Nick was a co-author with Jim Hays and John Imbrie on the seminal paper that convincingly showed the linkage between orbital and climatic changes. Without the global ice volume proxy record for which Nick was responsible, it would have been much more difficult to make this breakthrough in pursuit of a theory that had been waiting in the wings for a century or more. The establishment of the link between the Earth’s orbital variations and the record of climate change has also permitted the use of calculated changes in the orbital parameters to serve as a geologic metronome that can be used to ‘tune’ our geologic time scale. The development of these tuned time scales is now being undertaken by Nick as well as by several other scientists. Such improvements in chronostratigraphy will open the doors to a more reliable evaluation of geochemical fluxes, rates of evolution, and rates of myriad other geologic processes.

“There is an additional characteristic of Nick’s career that is only obvious by carefully considering his bibliography of published works, or from knowing him personally. He has not only been a leader in the field of paleoceanography since its very beginning, but he has also been the leading mentor of young paleoceanographers and collaborator with paleoceanographers of all ages. His advice, his support, and his willingness to share both data and ideas have enhanced the productivity and the advancement of the field as a whole. His critical eye for good ideas and good work has been evidenced in his appreciation and support of the work of others. Many of our community of paleoceanographers acknowledge that the first boost in their confidence and in their career came when Nick Shackleton took their efforts seriously.

“I think that ‘Doc’ Ewing would have been among the first to applaud Nick receiving this honor. In the mid-1970s, Nick was an associate researcher at Lamont-Doherty, only shortly after Doc stepped down as director. It reflects well on Lamont-Doherty and its scientists that they recognized his worth even before such recognition occurred in the University of Cambridge.”

—THEODORE C. MOORE, JR., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor


“Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, the first important stimulus toward my scientific success came from the opportunity to work on some of the hundreds of deep-sea sediment cores that were collected by Maurice Ewing. Like Rick Fairbanks, whom I am pleased to follow as recipient of the Ewing Medal, I am proud to be associated with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (admittedly having chalked up fewer years there than Rick), yet I am one who arrived too late to have been associated with Maurice Ewing himself. I did, however, have contact with two early members of Ewing’s team—David Ericson and Goesta Wollin. As a researcher at the University of Cambridge, I am grateful both to Lamont and to the NSF for the fact that this collection is open to all serious researchers. Jim Hays both introduced me to Lamont and taught me to learn from the cores by looking at them ever more carefully.

“As many of you know, my life has two important strands: one as a clarinettist and one as a scientist. Both music and science are for me intensely human activities, and both have found me innumerable friends. Musical interaction can be very intense but is nonverbal, and one can find oneself surprisingly ignorant of the true personality of a fellow musician with whom one is quite close musically. In contrast, I find that I have made many true friends through science, and the annual Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union brings together more of my friends than any other event in the calendar. For that reason, it is a very special privilege to be honored by AGU, and I sincerely thank the Union for this medal as well as the many friends who are present for the occasion. I especially thank Ted Moore for his generous citation, and I am very pleased that Ted is also recognized today, because I regard Fellowship of the AGU as a solid and unbiased assessment of real quality. Ted introduced me to ocean drilling aboard the Glomar Challenger and this, combined with several cruises on JOIDES Resolution, have provided one major current in my scientific career. The other has been the study of the Quaternary, initially as part of a research group based on pollen analysis and firmly situated in a university botany department.

“This curious association (I knew nothing of plants) forced me to be extremely interdisciplinary. As I have wandered between physics (the undergraduate training that enabled me to make good stable isotope measurements); musical acoustics (that enabled me to teach John Imbrie something about the response of nonlinear systems); archaeology (tracing seasonality in the occupation of sea caves by pre- historic peoples); and time-series analysis (creating truly accurate time scales through tens of millions of years), I have transferred ideas from one subdiscipline to another in ways that probably explain why nobody succeeded in tempting me away from Cambridge.

“I have mentioned a few people by name and I would like to mention one more: I have been extremely lucky that Mike Hall has remained happy looking after my mass spectrometers for so many years. To the extent that some of my friends are also my competitors, many know that I could more readily be vanquished if Mike were not with me, and indeed more than one of my friends has tried to tempt him away. I mention no more individuals but end by thanking my very many colleagues and friends, both present and absent, for sharing the pleasure of doing satisfying science.”

—NICHOLAS SHACKLETON, University of Cambridge, Mass.

Richard G. Fairbanks was awarded the Maurice Ewing Medal at the 2001 Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony on 12 December, in San Francisco, California. The medal is given for significant original contributions to understanding physical, geophysical, and geological processes in the ocean; to scientific ocean engineering, technology, and instrumentation; and outstanding service to marine sciences.



“It is my pleasure and honor to present the citation for Richard Fairbanks, recipient of the 2001 Maurice Ewing Medal, presented jointly by the United States Navy and the American Geophysical Union.

“Rick Fairbanks has made major scientific contributions to a diverse range of ocean science topics including (1) sea-level history, (2) deepwater circulation, (3) plankton ecology and chemistry, (4) tracer oceanography, especially coastal waters, (5) ENSO/monsoon reconstructions on long time scales, and (6) mass spectrometry design and automation.

“Fairbanks is undoubtedly best known for his ‘scientific home run’ on Barbados. After spending several years on offshore drill design, prototyping, and field-testing, Fairbanks set out for Barbados to core the drowned Pleistocene reefs. Equipped with 200 tons of drill equipment he installed on a chartered Navy missile-test ship, Fairbanks and crew recovered the Rosetta Stones of Pleistocene studies. The science achievements first published by Fairbanks and his students were three-fold. First, they measured the most detailed and accurate sea-level record documenting the demise of the last ice age and identified key amplifiers of climate change. Second, they calibrated the radiocarbon dating method via the uranium nuclides and identified long-term change in the Earth’s magnetic field intensity. Third, they measured major changes in the sea surface temperature in the tropics over the past 30,000 years, breaking a long-standing paradigm on the constancy of tropical sea surface temperatures.

“Published in a series of Science and Nature articles with his students and postdocs, the results had major scientific impacts over a range of scientific disciplines. For example, the Barbados sea-level record is the most complete sea-level record available, and as a result of its uranium-series dating accuracy, the pulsed nature of sea-level change has been documented. The calibration of the radiocarbon timescale led to the discovery that the carbon14 clock was offset by more than 5,000 years approximately 25,000 years ago, impacting many results and debates in Pleistocene research. These findings contribute to our understanding of the Earth’s magnetic field, cosmic ray production rates, rates of human evolution, and climate change. An equally startling finding showed that the tropics varied by 5°C, a finding quite relevant to global warming concerns today.

“One of the early pioneers in the study of deepwater circulation, Fairbanks and his students used geochemical tracers to document modulations of North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) in the Pleistocene. Using stable isotope and trace element proxies of deepwater temperature and nutrients, Fairbanks and his students studied the world’s oceans, with a unique emphasis on the Southern Ocean, a key region to monitor net changes in the NADW production. They were the first to document the important role of air-sea exchange in modifying the carbon isotope chemistry of surface and intermediate waters. Many of these former students are now recognized as world leaders in the field of deepwater circulation research.

“Over much of his career, Fairbanks has worked with biologists Peter Wiebe, Alan Be, and Sharon Smith to study the vertical distribution and isotope and trace element chemistry of marine plankton from the equator to the polar regions. Fairbanks and his colleagues unraveled the processes controlling the vertical distribution and chemistry of planktonic foraminifera, arguably the most important microfossil group in deepsea studies. In particular, the role of the chlorophyll maximum zone in dictating the vertical distribution, abundance, and skeletal chemistry is a fundamental finding that ties foraminifera abundance and chemistry to predictable hydrographic gradients. These findings, in cooperation with graduate student Christina Ravelo and George Philander at Princeton, were elegantly incorporated into an ecological and ocean model that was used to predict the hydrography of ancient oceans.

“Some know Fairbanks best through his research on the origin of coastal waters and his use of the oxygen and hydrogen isotope tracers of the water molecule. Combining ‘quiet’ electronics and computer automation of his design, Fairbanks was the first to achieve high-precision automated isotopic analysis of the water molecule. Initially credited with documenting the Labrador sources of New England coastal waters, Fairbanks and colleagues are actively involved in applying the isotope tracer technique to coastal waters ranging from the Arctic to the Antarctic.

“In 1978, Fairbanks and Richard Dodge demonstrated for the first time that long-lived coral skeletons could be sampled at biweekly resolution for temperature, salinity, and incident radiation reconstructions. Their results were confirmed by many investigators around the world and led to one of the most rapidly growing fields of paleoceanography: ocean/climate reconstructions via geochemical proxies in corals. In particular, studies of ENSO and the Asian monsoon climate systems have made great gains using these methods pioneered by Fairbanks and Dodge more than 20 years ago.

“Fairbanks’s strength in engineering has greatly contributed to his scientific accomplishments in the lab and at sea. Fairbanks’s mass spectrometry automation designs are found in hundreds of laboratories around the world, substantially improving the data quality and the productivity of many mass spectrometry laboratories.

“Fairbanks has served our community through editorial boards at Science, Paleoceanography, and Geological Society of America Bulletin and countless administrative boards and commissions nationally and at Lamont-Doherty and Columbia University. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and a recipient of the Rosenstiel Medal. Through all this, he has somehow remained extremely involved in civic activities in his neighborhood and town and on the state and federal level. He clearly exemplifies the intent of the Maurice Ewing Medal.”

—PETER EISENBERGER, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Columbia University, Palisades, New York


“I am deeply honored to receive the Maurice Ewing Medal, and I thank Peter Eisenberger for his kind words and friendship. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory has been my professional home for my entire career, and I owe much to this institution that Maurice Ewing built more than fifty years ago. Maurice Ewing, a world-renowned geophysicist, founded Lamont the year before I was born, and he left for Texas as I started graduate work at Brown. I believe that I am the first Ewing Medal recipient who did not meet Maurice Ewing in person, nor overlap with him in the course of my career.

“When I arrived at Lamont in 1978, Maurice Ewing’s scientific template for Lamont was still indelibly imprinted on the campus and its research programs. It was the combination of the remnants of Ewing’s era, combined with the changes under way, that made Lamont an irresistible place to work.

“One vestige of Ewing’s era was the unusual Lamont campus layout. Dead center in the campus, where most campus planners site a central green, Ewing located the Machine Shop and Central Store. That suited me just fine, as I started my career with tremendous enthusiasm for building an isotope laboratory and an extensive seagoing program. In fact, it was on my daily visits to the Central Store, where I could purchase any size stainless steel bolt, nut, or widget imaginable, that I learned the early history of Lamont. You see, Buddy, who was the manager of our Central Store from the early days, had a daily ritual with me. He would disappear down an aisle of shelving trying to fill my parts list for the day, and shout over to me, ‘They can’t fire me. I know too much!’ I would yell back, ‘Oh yeah, like what?’ Buddy would shout back a new tidbit of Lamont’s early history, and I would inevitably reply, ‘You’re right, you know too much!’ And so, day by day, I slowly assembled, as Paul Harvey would say, ‘the rest of the story.’

“As I reflect on my career and the scientific accomplishments leading up to the Ewing Medal, I have a confession to make. One of my long-standing areas of research is the record of sea level, undoubtedly the specialty most colleagues would assign to me. As I joined the faculty of Columbia University in 1990, Rhodes Fairbridge was retiring from our department after a long and productive career in sea-level research. Rhodes Fairbridge was one of the most prolific science writers in the twentieth century. Over the past decade, I have often received mail addressed to Rhodes Fairbanks, or maybe Richard Fairbridge, or Richard Fairbanks, but the letters opened with ‘Dear Rhodes.’ I have even given keynote speeches where, to this day, I am not sure whether the host thought that I was Rhodes Fairbridge, Richard Fairbanks, or some combination. So, a little voice inside says, ‘Thank you, Rhodes Fairbridge, for extending my scientific career in sea-level research by 40 years.’ You can now appreciate why I was pleased when, upon closer examination, I confirmed that the envelope and letter from AGU announcing the Maurice Ewing Medalist was unambiguously addressed to Richard Fairbanks, and that to my added relief, Marcia had crossed out ‘Dear Professor Fairbanks’ and had written in ‘Dear Rick.’

“The fields of paleoceanography, climate research, and marine geochemistry were in their infancies when I began my career, and the process of selecting exciting scientific topics was as easy as picking apples from a tree. The speed at which these fields advanced was exhilarating, for we could be sure that our data and interpretations would be rapidly tested and scrutinized by new techniques, better instruments, and improved models. I enjoy this accountability in science.

“I am sad that my close friend and advocate, Sam Epstein, who died several months ago, is not here to help me celebrate. Sam had a profound influence on my career, and he, more than anyone, continually spurred me to expand my horizons. Without question, the satisfaction of learning new topics and techniques, and meeting new colleagues, reinvigorates my career. I wish I could thank all the important people in my career, but I fear the list would be too long and the omissions too many. However, I would be remiss not to formally acknowledge Robley Knight Matthews, my Ph.D. thesis advisor at Brown University, as well as my department and my classmates at Brown, for creating a wonderful research environment in which to start my career. I have benefited immeasurably from the support of Columbia’s Administration, especially Michael Crow and Jonathan Cole, generous funding from the National Science Foundation, and collaborations with my Lamont colleagues, graduate students, post docs, and laboratory specialists, none better than Richard Mortlock.

“As a tribute to my father, I would like to acknowledge that his passion for his chosen career gave me the courage to pursue my passion, no matter where it led. Of course, support and encouragement from my wife, Kathy, and my children, Adam, Todd, Margot, and Brooke, have always been the pillars underlying my scientific accomplishments.”

—RICHARD G. FAIRBANKS, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Columbia University, Palisades, New York

Joseph L Reid


Arnold L. Gordon was awarded the 1999 Maurice Ewing Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, which was held on December 15, 1999, in San Francisco, California. The medal recognizes significant original contributions to understanding physical, geophysical, and geological processes in the ocean; and/or significant original contributions to scientific ocean engineering, technology, and instrumentation; and/or outstanding service to marine sciences. This medal is presented jointly by the U.S. Navy and AGU.



“It is my pleasure and honor to present the citation for Arnold Gordon, winner of the 1999 Maurice Ewing Medal of the American Geophysical Union.

“Arnold Gordon’s research has been and continues to be directed toward observing the ocean circulation and its interaction with the atmosphere. This has involved understanding the ocean’s role in global climate variability on interannual to multidecadal timescales. His research spans scales and oceans: from the meter scale to the global thermohaline circulation; from the hot tropical regions to the cold polar environments. It has produced quantitative information about ocean circulation and mixing, in particular, the thermohaline-driven component. Arnold has investigated a variety of important elements of regional oceanography, for example, the Southern Ocean, South Atlantic, tropical Indian Ocean, and the Indonesian Seas. These in turn have an important bearing on the subject of global ocean circulation and heat and salt fluxes.

“Arnold’s Ph.D. thesis at Columbia University under the supervision of Georg Wüst was a quantitative study of the dynamics of the Caribbean Sea. After receiving his Ph.D. in 1965, he joined the faculty at Columbia, which has been his home ever since. He was awarded the Bryant Bigelow Medal of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 1984 and is a Fellow in the AGU and American Meteorological Society. Arnold has served in many leadership positions. He was President of the Ocean Sciences Section of AGU and The Oceanography Society. Arnold has served on numerous scientific steering groups related to programs of physical oceanography and climate. He recently chaired the World Climate Research Program’s CLIVAR Program Science Steering Group. CLIVAR is a new international climate research activity dedicated to the development of a predictive climate model for interannual to century timescales. As a follow-up to the Tropical Ocean-Global Atmosphere and World Ocean Circulation Experiment this program promises to be a primary driver of climate and oceanographic research for the next 15 years.

“Arnold Gordon has made substantial original contributions described in more than 150 publications. Yet his work goes well beyond that; he has defined whole new directions of oceanographic research. Arnold reinstilled community interest in the South Atlantic—a region studied by his mentor, Georg Wüst, in the 1920s. He led the Office of Naval Research South Atlantic research program in the 1980s, with emphasis directed toward the confluence of the Brazil Malvinas Currents and the Agulhas Retroflection. Some of the highlights of this work include an understanding of the contributions of the eddies formed in the region to the dynamics of the circulation and interocean transport.

“In a controversial paper published in the mid-1980s, Arnold related the importance of the Indonesian throughflow and Indian Ocean warm/saline water injection into the South Atlantic to the global thermohaline circulation. By doing so, he turned the community’s attention to the potential climate significance of interocean and interhemispheric transport. Much of this research was carried out thanks to Arnold’s persistent diplomatic work as the main U.S. coordinator for oceanographic research within Indonesia. Gaining access to the Indonesian Seas for U.S. investigators was no easy task; it required 6 years of dedicated effort. The first joint U.S.-Indonesian program was carried out in 1991 and was followed by larger, collaborative programs. Some of Arnold’s significant contributions that followed from this work include recognition of the importance of modification of properties (e.g., heat and salt) by mixing within the Indonesian Seas, the sources and pathways of flow, and quantification and characterization of throughflow variability.

“Arnold’s research has had a major impact on our understanding of the Southern Ocean, the main region of bottom water formation in the world’s oceans. He began organizing expeditions in the mid-1960s as part of the Eltanin circumpolar survey and continued long after Eltanin was decommissioned. Most of these expeditions are joint international programs. During the 1980s his work concentrated on obtaining data in those hard-to-reach places well within the pack ice in nonsummer months. These studies revealed the key role of oceanic heat flux in controlling the distribution and thickness of the sea ice cover. A recent program organized by Arnold, the U.S. Russian Ice Station Weddell, constituted the first scientific ice station of the Southern Ocean and first exploration of the western edge of the Weddell Sea. This scientifically and logistically complex program revealed the formation of two types of Antarctic Bottom Water and led to improved estimates of bottom water formation there. He continued these efforts by leading the AnZone research group for climate-based Southern Ocean research, which develops internationally coordinated Southern Ocean fieldwork.

“Arnold Gordon’s nearly 40 years of outstanding scientific contributions have had a significant and large-scale impact and, together with his tireless and exhaustive service to the oceanographic community, exemplify exactly what the Ewing Medal is intended to recognize and honor.”

—RANA A. FINE, University of Miami, Fla.


“I very much appreciate the recognition that this wonderful Ewing Medal conveys. I thank AGU and ONR for this honor, which is particularly appreciated, because this is the 50th anniversary of Ewing’s legacy, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

“Real-life experiences can’t be rerun under different conditions, so I can never be sure if the Ewing style determined the way I approach my research or if it was something more innate in me; the two are certainly similar. I love to explore, to go to ocean areas that have been ignored, to gather reams of data, to make stories of how I think the ocean ‘works.’

“Ewing’s style was to collect data every day, if you needed it or not; time has proven that they were needed and still are needed. His realm was the world ocean; he was ‘global’ before global was ‘cool.’ From observations coupled with a bit of creativity, stories evolve. They are attacked, and, in the process, the curious personalities of scientists are revealed. A story may be shown to be a fable or open new ways to think about our world, but at the very least it gets the community’s attention, encouraging more targeted observations and models and, one way or another, advancing the frontier of knowledge.

“I clearly remember the day in February 1961 when I first saw Lamont. The facility was only 12 years old then, but to me, even if I were aware of that, Lamont was there forever. I had already assumed I would accept an MIT offer, but an encouraging letter from Jack Nafe brought me to Lamont, way upstate for a Brooklyn boy. I asked Nafe if I could really study physical oceanography at Lamont, a field that I was sure I wanted to study from my early days. He said yes, for, unknown to me at that time, Ewing had already realized he needed physical oceanography to better understand the processes that govern sedimentation in the ocean, and perhaps it would also help in unraveling the mysteries of climate. He had engineered a grant from the Ford Foundation to bring the great German oceanographer, Georg Wüst, to Columbia and pay $1800/year for a graduate student, who turned out to be me; they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.

“Maurice Ewing was an imposing figure. I remember walking that long hallway—a hallway that seemed to grow longer and longer with every step—to Doc’s office on the second floor of Lamont Hall. From Ewing emanated the Lamont personality: a spartan life of work and dedication, a career driven by an intense need to engage in the quest for clues to understand the Earth. With so little known about the Earth, every measurement made had the potential to uncover something new; the same is true today.

“After receiving my Ph.D. in 1965 with a thesis on the Caribbean Sea, I then turned my attention to the Southern Ocean. I inherited leadership of the Eltanin circumpolar survey project. (Who knew of postdocs in those days?) What better place to be global; all the ocean basins are merely estuaries of the Southern Ocean. Not only is the Southern Ocean a major ventilator of the deep ocean, but it also links these estuaries, allowing interocean fluxes, a critical element in the global climate system. I gradually moved into the South Atlantic, Wüst’s ocean-of-fame. As a young scientist, he was aboard the German research ship Meteor, which crisscrossed the South Atlantic, between 1925 and 1927, producing a data set still very much in use today. My South Atlantic research widened my view of the global network of interocean exchange, a network that is closely linked to deep convection at the head waters of one of those Southern Ocean estuaries, the North Atlantic.

“I extended that theme with fieldwork in the Indonesian Seas. These being the hottest waters and the Southern Ocean being the coldest made the rest of the world ocean simple, assuming linear interpolation, of course.

“In many ways, ship-based oceanography in the 1960s was not too different than it was in the 1920s aboard Wüst’s Meteor. On the Eltanin we remained at sea for 60 days, spending half that time getting to and from the research area. We collected water in Nansen bottles at 23 levels at perhaps only 30 stations, struggling to collect those few samples.

“Today, we sample continuously from sea surface to seafloor at well more than 100 stations in a 30-day cruise. We deploy instrumented drifters and moorings. Satellites provide images of the sea surface temperatures over the entire ocean. They monitor sea level changes and wind stress on the ocean surface and look at sea ice cover hiding under the clouds. When I look now at ocean intricacies exposed by these new observational methods, I wonder if we had known of the ocean’s complexity, might we in the 1960s have been too disheartened to move ahead. I don’t think so: the excitement of discovery outweighed any sense of discouragement.

“Sophisticated computer modeling has become a major tool for investigating the complex dynamics of the ocean and the climate, but the foundation and the validity of any model still rely on actual observations. It’s the combination of models and observations that counts.

“I’ve never lost the feeling that unexpected ‘discoveries’ are still lurking out there. The division between known and unknown in science is not a sharp boundary between light and dark but, rather, a murky region full of speculations and few data, a place where imagination rules. I wonder, have all the stories been told and all that is left is filling in the details and making sure all is properly simulated in computer models? Of course not (or at least I hope not). I’m more concerned that the funding and educational pressures of today may act to discourage field exploration and risk taking, limiting the thrill of discovery. We must find ways to project the Ewing style in a way that is appropriate for today’s world.”

—ARNOLD L. GORDON, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Columbia University, Palisades, New York

Richard P. Von Herzen was awarded the 1998 Maurice Ewing Medal at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, which was held on December 8, 1998, in San Francisco, California. The medal recognizes significant original contributions to understanding physical, geophysical, and geological processes in the ocean; significant original contributions to scientific ocean engineering, technology, and instrumentation; and/or outstanding service to marine sciences. This medal is presented jointly by the U.S. Navy and AGU.



“It is my great pleasure and honor to present the citation for Richard P. Von Herzen, winner of the 1998 Maurice Ewing Medal of the American Geophysical Union.

“Dick is undoubtedly the world’s greatest researcher in the field of marine heat flow today, and he has made many great contributions to the understanding of Earth’s thermal structure and to the technology needed for doing heat flow research. Let me share just a few comments from other scientists with you: `Dick has virtually established marine heat flow as a credible (and extremely useful) subdiscipline of marine geophysics’; `Dick has done for heat transfer in the ocean basins what Maurice Ewing did for seismic studies of the oceanic lithosphere’; `I can think of no one more deserving of the Ewing Medal than Dick Von Herzen.’ I agree completely with these assessments.

“Dick earned his B.S. in geophysics at the California Institute of Technology in 1952, his M.A. in geological sciences at Harvard in 1956, and his Ph.D. in marine geophysics at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1960. He worked for Scripps as a research geophysicist until he moved to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 1973. Except for a brief diversion as Deputy Director of the Office of Oceanography, UNESCO, in Paris (1964-1966), Dick has devoted his 40-year-plus research career to the fundamental understanding of geothermal processes in the ocean basins. Dick has sailed on about 40 expeditions in essentially every oceanic region of the world, including the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans, the Mediterranean, Antarctic, and Red Seas, and lakes in Africa, Switzerland, and Oregon. For 15 of these, he served as chief scientist. His targets have included spreading centers, basins, swells, and the margins of the oceans. He has written some 125 scientific papers, including several superb state-of-the-art reviews. He was made Fellow of the AGU in 1986.

“I have known Dick since 1961, when he invited me to join his first major heat flow cruise—the RISEPAC Expedition aboard SCRIPPS’ R/V Spencer F. Baird. I had just made the first three heat flow measurements in the Japan Trench and was delighted to join the cruise. I learned a great deal from Dick, who had already made pioneering measurements in the eastern Pacific, following the work of Edward Bullard, Art Maxwell, and Roger Revelle, and had established that the East Pacific Rise was a region of anomalously high heat flow. We confirmed the high heat flow on the crest of the East Pacific Rise, but we also found that heat flow becomes curiously low in a wide area of the flank of the Rise. Analysis and interpretation of these data after the cruise was also a memorable experience. My profound admiration of Dick began then and has persisted to today. In hindsight, the low heat flow in the flank area was a prelude to the discovery, largely to be attributed to our common friend Clive Lister, of the true nature of mid-ocean ridge heat flow, namely, that it indicates hydrothermal circulation in young oceanic crust.

“Dick’s discoveries and contributions have been many since those early RISEPAC days. The existence and wave length of hydrothermal circulation was proven by the closely spaced measurements at and around the Galapagos spreading center in the early 1970s by Dick and his colleagues D. Williams, J. Sclater, and R. Anderson. His global overview with D. Williams, published in 1974, led to the revolution of our basic concept on the apparent equivalency of continental and oceanic heat flow. His work on heat flow of the Hawaiian and Bermuda swells, geothermal measurements in Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSPD) holes, and detailed investigation of the trans-Atlantic Geotraverse (TAG) hydrothermal mound are a few of his additional important contributions.

“These contributions are linked to and made possible by Dick’s equally important development of new instrumentation. Early in his career, Dick substantially improved the so-called Bullard-type heat flow probe, making it a practical tool. With Art Maxwell, he invented the now standard needle probe method for sediment thermal conductivity measurements. Probably his greatest invention was the digitally recording and telemetering multiple penetration heat flow probe. In the early stages of marine heat flow work, there were basically two types of probe: the Bullard-type, which used steel pipes containing temperature sensors, and the Ewing-type, which used outrigger sensors attached to a piston core barrel. Shipboard handling was easier with the Bullard-type probe, but it bent at each penetration and a sediment core had to be taken separately, whereas the Ewing-type could take a core and measure the temperature gradient in one operation, and the thick core barrel did not bend easily. Dick combined the virtues of both probes and developed electronics for long-time recording and real-time acoustic telemetering of data, resulting in a probe that can make multiple penetrations and measurements with each lowering. This literally revolutionized marine heat flow work, and the Von Herzen probe is now widely used.

“Other instrumental innovations include an in situ thermal conductivity measuring device and heat flow measuring systems for DSV Alvin and DSDP holes. For the DSDP device, mechanical strength to withstand the rough handling in drilling was a big problem. For Leg 60 in the Marianas, we developed a fully solid state electronic system without any moving parts, which proved to be dependable for the first time. Later Dick improved it, making it much smaller, so it could be fitted within the coring shoe of the piston coring equipment deployed inside the drill pipe. It is now the standard tool. Personally, I enjoyed seeing a case in which Americans made a miniature of something developed in Japan.

“Dick is both an extremely careful, industrious, and persevering researcher who is armored with clear physical insight and an extremely kind and thoughtful individual to work with. The impressive list of his publications amply shows that he has been cooperating with many international scientists, including those from potentially rival institutions like the late Marcus Langseth, Roy Hyndman, and John Sclater, to name a few.

“I wish to end my citation to Dick with a quote from Roger Anderson in the Journal of Geophysical Research, February 10, 1983: `For years and years of unselfish dedication to science, and with a wish of many, many more, the authors of this special issue extend their sincere thanks to you, Dick.’

—SEIYA UYEDA, RIKEN (Institute of Physical and Chemical Research), International Frontier Program on Earthquake Research at Earthquake Prediction Research Center, Tokai University, Tokyo, Japan


“I am most grateful to Seiya Uyeda for the kind words in his citation and to all those involved in my selection for the Ewing Medal in 1998. Since my astonishment upon being informed nearly a year ago, I have found the experience of researching those who have received it previously to be most humbling. In my case, there are simply too many people (professors, colleagues, administrators, students, engineers, technicians, and family members) who were essential for the accomplishments represented by this particular honor to include in this brief response. The few named below are examples of many others who have helped me greatly.

“First, it seems important to acknowledge two close colleagues who may also have been in the thoughts of the nominating committee in their considerations of geophysical subdisciplines for this award. They are Clive Lister and Mark Langseth, vigorous and innovative geophysical scientists who were largely involved with marine geothermal research for much of their professional lives but who unfortunately died prematurely, near the peaks of their respective careers. At the same time that we were mutual competitors for research funding in the United States, I was stimulated by many of their ideas and analyses in my own research efforts. In one example, noted by Seiya in his citation, Clive’s careful data acquisition and analysis of geothermal measurements on the Juan de Fuca ridge, which led him to the hypothesis of widespread hydrothermal circulation in the ocean crust, also explained many of the very low heat flow values that we obtained earlier on the flanks of the east Pacific rise. This important process was quantified and modeled on the basis of the spatial distributions of detailed values obtained by other colleagues and myself at the Galapagos spreading center, and by Mark Langseth, Keir Becker, Earl Davis, and many others elsewhere on actively spreading ridges.

“Hot spots became natural targets for geothermal investigations after their initial geophysical analysis by various colleagues placed them in a plate tectonics framework and showed that most were the result of mantle upwellings, rather than crustal thickening. Although the initial study of the Hawaiian swell, stimulated greatly by the modeling of Tom Crough and Bob Detrick, was interpreted as primarily a thermal effect, additional measurements and modeling (including data from a cruise last year) suggest that the geothermal signature may be small or nonexistent. This may be a result of the relatively fast moving plate over the hot spot and/or slow but pervasive crustal hydrothermal circulation that redistributes any additional heat flux laterally, or other unknown perturbations. Measurements on other oceanic hot spots indicate that the geothermal effects may be larger for those that are relatively stationary or slow moving with respect to the overlying plate. However, the accuracy and spatial distribution of the geothermal data leave much to be desired, and the continuing development of new methodologies present many opportunities for motivated researchers to improve our understanding of these important geophysical phenomena. Also largely unexplained is why the locus of surface magma production is so narrowly confined in comparison with the swell widths themselves, perhaps analogous to a similar observation at spreading ridges, which may only be resolved by multidisciplinary investigations.

“With the initial opportunity given to me by Russ Raitt as my Ph.D. advisor, my focus on developing geothermal measurement instrumentation was stimulated in the 1950s by its relative absence in the emerging arena of ocean exploration. In addition, I had the fortune to be preceded at Scripps Institution of Oceanography by the theoretical and instrument design innovations in this field made by Teddy Bullard, Roger Revelle, and Art Maxwell. My initial contributions were relatively minor modifications to make the existing equipment more easily serviceable in the sometimes difficult marine environment. Like Mark, Clive, and others of my era, I was also most fortunate to be able to ride the wave crest of increasing budgets and emphasis for science in general, and oceanography in particular, at that time. My initial research support frequently consisted of small bootlegs on other researchers’ existing grants and contracts. Despite the long cruises on small ships that then characterized life at sea, it was a great satisfaction to try and sometimes be successful in developing instrumentation to measure geophysically relevant parameters in an environment where it had not been done before. Unfortunately, we are unable to make continuous measurements of the geothermal flux like magnetic or gravity field measurements: the pogo (multiple) probe method is our best approximation. However, we are partially compensated by the relative ease of marine heat flow measurements in comparison with those on continents. Most recently, I have been fortunate to be asked by colleagues to help advise on development of techniques to make marine geothermal measurements with an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), which hopefully may fill some data gaps in the world oceans that are difficult to measure from ships.

“Finally, I wish to comment on some impressions of Maurice Ewing. From my viewpoint as a Scripps graduate student, perhaps it is understandable that the accomplishments he and his associates achieved at Lamont-Doherty were not always being hailed from the rooftops of a rival institution, but we continually encountered them in the literature. Regretfully, I only interacted with him a few times after I joined Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the mid-1960s. It is clear that he ran a `tight ship,’ in several senses of that phrase, but the result was valuable geophysical data on a worldwide scale that are still some of the most useful that exist for many marine areas. I also benefited from his perspective and cooperation when our research efforts became larger than one institution could accomplish, (for example, the beginnings of ocean drilling in the late 1960s and my participation in Leg 3 that helped to validate the seafloor spreading hypothesis). It is my great privilege to be honored today by this AGU Medal that represents his pioneering dedication to excellence in marine geophysical research.”

—RICHARD P. VON HERZEN, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Mass.

The 1997 Maurice Ewing Medal, given for outstanding services to the marine sciences, was presented to Karl Turekian at the AGU Spring Meeting Honor Ceremony on May 28, 1997, in Baltimore, Md.



“Karl Turekian is one of the world’s most productive, widely known, and best-loved geochemists. In more than four decades and over 200 scientific papers and several books, Karl has laid the foundation for a vast array of geochemical topics in the Earth and ocean sciences through research carried out with unsurpassed insight, originality, dedication, and selflessness. Throughout this period, he has inspired students, nurtured colleagues, shown both wit and wisdom, guided journals, and given sage advice to every conceivable scientific body, all from a home base provided by his gracious wife Roxanne.

“Karl carried out his doctoral research on strontium geochemistry at Columbia University at a time when geology was moving, under the leadership of Maurice Ewing, from the main campus to the then new Lamont Geological Observatory. His work laid the foundation for the extraordinary widespread use of Sr isotopic ratios in uncovering Earth’s environmental history today. In 1956, he moved to Yale University, where he has since spent his entire professional career.

“Karl first tackled the problem of uncovering the rules governing the distribution of a wide variety of trace metals in the ocean and, although the sampling techniques of the time were often too crude to yield correct absolute values, his insights into governing processes were remarkable. In the 1970s, he became one of the leaders of the GEOSECS program that did so much to reveal for the first time the fundamental distribution of chemical properties in the ocean. Karl finds it almost impossible to go to sea himself, and he has only ventured out on the ocean twice to my knowledge! He went out once with Wally Broecker in 1961 on the Vema when Maurice Ewing first permitted geochemists aboard `his’ ship, and 13 years later on the Melville, with Harmon Craig as chief scientist, on the first leg of the GEOSECS Pacific Expedition.

“In the early 1970s, Karl became interested in the coastal ocean and the concept of estuaries as chemical reactors that modulate the passage of chemical elements from land to sea. He and his students made their patch of ocean, Long Island Sound, into a model for coastal studies the world over. The marvelous use of disequilibria in the short-lived radioactive nuclides of the natural U-Th series to reveal ocean processes in large part originated, and became highly developed, in his laboratory. In a series of papers remarkable for their breadth and virtuosity, this tool was applied by Karl and a steady stream of talented students to a host of original problems: scavenging, sediment accumulation rates, bioturbation, residence times, ocean circulation, and atmospheric deposition, all superbly revealed in the telling of the isotopic story by his laboratory. Karl’s most recent passion is the use of 187Os/186Os isotopic ratios to uncover extraterrestrial influences from the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary to interplanetary dust fluxes to the oceans.

“Karl has edited and guided our journals and has aided both young careers and august bodies. In doing so, he has given his time and his ideas with a world-renowned generosity. He radiates a love of science, and his contributions to the American Geophysical Union are both wide and deep. He joins the distinguished ranks of Ewing medalists as an inspirational world leader in the geochemistry of aqueous systems.”

—PETER G. BREWER, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, Calif.


“Some of the most important things that happen to shape our lives are not planned but appear to be accidental. My enrollment at Wheaton College in Illinois was done at my mother’s bidding, before she would sign the papers that would allow me to join the Navy at age 17. World War II was on and that was where I felt I should be. My mother thought my interest in being a minister should be given a chance: before she would let me join the Navy, I had to go to college for a semester. That was her deal. She was good to her word. My life in the Navy as an aviation electronic technician’s mate third class convinced me that I would do more for the world by not becoming a minister. Whether the world is better because I became a marine geochemist is another question.

“It was Larry Kulp, an earlier chemistry graduate from Wheaton, who seduced me and a whole list of successive Wheaton students into coming to Columbia University. There he had started, as an instructor, a fledgling group in geochemistry. The Wheaton students who followed me to Columbia were Walter Eckelmann, Paul Gast, and Wally Broecker. It turned out that the year I arrived, 1949, was also the year that Maurice (`Doc’) Ewing started the Lamont Geological Observatory in Palisades, New York. Although many of the current Lamont activities stayed for a while at Schermerhorn Hall at Columbia (including the machine shop) within 4 years, we were all moved to the growing campus on the Palisades Sill.

“Ewing’s boys and the geochemists at first encountered each other on the touch football field at Lamont, but the effete geochemists encountering football pros like Jack Oliver and George Sutton quickly turned to volleyball as the sport of choice.

“Doc was pleased to see the geochemical arm of Lamont grow, but he was wary of geochemists going to sea on the Vema. Not until the winter of 1961 were Wally Broecker and I able to importune him successfully for that privilege. (By that time I was an associate professor at Yale and Wally was too, at Columbia). In a sense that expedition was a major incentive for the start of the Geochemical Ocean Sections Study (GEOSECS) program.

“My earliest seagoing experience, however, was working with Norman Newell and John Imbrie in the Bahamas in 1955 and 1956. We taught ourselves scuba diving in a hotel pool in Brooklyn and, armed with Jacques Cousteau’s book The Silent World, we explored the reefs and sedimentary deposits of the Bahama Platform and studied the minioceanography of Bimini Sound. This was the beginning of my interest in coastal oceanography.

“My education at Columbia and at Lamont specifically set the pattern of the way I behave. The knockdown seminars all Saturday afternoon, the relentless testing of each other’s ideas, and the head-on encounters with the rough gang from Chicago all shaped me and the other blooming geochemists.

“Naturally, I transferred my well-learned Lamont experience to genteel Yale when I arrived on the faculty there in 1956. It took a while for the great collision to show its effects, but thanks to remarkable students who have worked with me from the first day I arrived there to the present day, my life has continued to be fun. It has been a virtual scientific carnival for me. I would wish the same for everyone. The many undergraduates and graduate students as well as postdocs and visiting scientists have enriched my life considerably. The carnival could only exist because of them.

“All along the way I have been in the caring hands of my wife, Roxanne. When I told Wally Broecker and Paul Gast that I was waiting for a beautiful, intelligent girl of Armenian Protestant ancestry who would be willing to marry me, they calculated the odds and figured I was destined to bachelorhood. It is no surprise that they showed up at the church on our wedding day just to confirm this improbable event.

“As improbable as the event was, it resulted in two great children, both sources of joy and curiosity as to the workings of young minds.

“I don’t know if Maurice Ewing is turning over in his grave at the thought of another former Lamont marine geochemist (the first being Wally Broecker) being forever linked with his name, but I suspect not. One thing Doc had going for him was his broad view of the Earth. How else could he have made Lamont such a successful enterprise?”

—KARL TUREKIAN, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.

The 1996 Maurice Ewing Medal was presented to Walter C. Pitman, III, at the Fall Meeting Honor Ceremony December 17, 1996, in San Francisco. The medal recognizes significant contributions to understanding physical, geophysical, and geological processes in the ocean and outstanding service to the marine sciences.



“Walter Pitman received his bachelor of science degree in engineering from Lehigh University in 1956. He turned to industry and worked for Hazeltine Corporation from 1956 to 1960; becoming bored with the corporate lifestyle, he decided that he wanted a change. Trained as an engineer and having had no experience in either geophysics or geology, Walter nevertheless decided that he wanted to study oceanography, having become interested in the subject through his experience in industry. He visited Lamont Observatory, where he was told he might be able to have a future in marine science but first he would have to go to sea for a year as a technician. Then, perhaps, he could be sponsored as a student to Columbia University. This he did in 1960, becoming a seagoing electronic technician in charge of keeping the magnetometer and other instruments operational. During 1960, Walter spent considerable time in the South Atlantic and in the eastern Pacific. He had many adventures, some of them believable. He then returned to Lamont Doherty Geological Observatory in 1961 and officially became a graduate student in geophysics. “I first met Walter in 1963, after my return to the United States from Africa. At the time, Walter was pursuing his Ph.D. thesis on micropulsation under the direction of Jim Heintzler. In 1964, he changed his thesis and decided to study marine magnetic anomalies. He went to sea in 1965 as chief scientist on the Eltanin 20 leg, returning to Lamont Doherty with an excellent set of data. As luck would have it, he processed both the Eltanin 19 and 20 data and produced the Eltanin 19 profile that would revolutionize the Earth sciences, probably the most famous single magnetic profile in the history of the subject. This data set clearly supported the Vine, Mathews, Morley hypothesis and persuaded many that seafloor spreading was a reality. This study was published by Pitman and Heirtzler in 1966 and was the basis of the first magnetic polarity timescale based on marine magnetic anomalies.

“Lamont Doherty Geological Observatory had the best library of marine magnetic anomaly data for the world ocean, and Walter and others rapidly expanded the investigation and correlation of magnetic anomalies back in time to the quiet zone and geographically into all the oceans of the world, laying the basis for the epocal Heirstler et. al. paper in 1968 that is one of the most highly cited papers in all of geophysics. These papers were followed by a study of the kinematics of the North Atlantic based on magnetic anomalies, published in 1971 and 1972 by Pitman and Talwani. Walter, along with R. Larson, succeeded in extending the reversed sequence into the Jurassic in 1972. A direct result of his study of the kinematics of the Atlantic Ocean was the study with J. Dewey and others of the evolution of the Alpine system, a topic with which he has remained engaged. In this period, Walter led the effort to produce a complete map of magnetic anomalies in the world ocean, which was published in 1974 by Pitman, Larson, and Herron as a world map giving the ages of the ocean basins. This study enabled workers to reconstruct in detail the paleogeography of Earth since the middle Jurassic. With L Hays, in 1973, Walter also pointed out the paleogeographic consequences of rapid seafloor spreading in the Cretaceous caused a large rise in sea level and the consequent flooding of the continents. This 1973 paper led to a gradual shift in Walter’s emphasis to problems concerning plate tectonics and sea level change. In 1978, Walter produced his classic paper linking eustasy and stratigraphic sequences on passive margins and relating to plate tectonics. This paper remains one of the most important contributions to the subject in the literature, and Walter’s interest in sea level change remains. Walter’s most recent important contribution was the study with Golovchenko of the effect of sea level change on the morphology of mountain systems, published in 1991. Walter is at present nominally retired; however, he is in the process of publishing a book with W. Ryan entitled, Noah’s Journey. This magnum opus has been under gestation for at least 20 years and will surely be one of Walter’s most important contributions. For these outstanding contributions to marine science, Walter Pitman clearly deserves the Ewing medal.”

—NEIL D. OPDYKE, University of Florida, Gainesville


“I am very honored and deeply grateful to be this years’ recipient of the Ewing Medal. I owe much to many people throughout my career, particularly to Jack Nafe and Chuck Drake, who sponsored me as a graduate student and who occasionally propped me up when I faltered, to Jim Heirtzler, who was so patient and who nurtured me through the graduate years, to Ellen Herron, Geof Dickson, and Xavier LePichon, coauthors and collaborators on those early papers; and to Neil Opdyke, who pushed us all. I owe much to the many wonderful colleagues with whom I have been able to work, such as John Dewey, Bill Ryan, Manik Talwani, Dennis Hayes, Jeff Fox, Jim Hays, Roger Larson, John La Brecque, Steve Cande, and many others.

“I owe much to serendipity, having been in the right place at the right time. Lamont-Doherty was the right place to be at the time, with its large collection of data, organized, archived, and open to all. The data were processed on a regular and routine basis and harnessed to our computer system, which then consisted of several 1620s. The data were from all oceans, due to the insistence of Maurice Ewing that all oceans be explored and that all the data that could be gathered were gathered at all times.

“The magnetic lineation patterns were but a part of what seemed to be a continuous chain of discovery by many people, of the piecing together of geologic events in new causal linkages, at first called `the new global tectonics’ and later `plate tectonics.’” In a sense, the plate tectonics organized much of the geology, like looking at a pointillist painting; up close it is just a field of spots, but from a distance the organization appears. Dots and patches which had seemed only distantly related at best now appeared as an integral part of an overall pattern. But if the paradigm solved problems at one level, it created problems at another. Did the ridges push? Did the trenches pull? Both or neither? Deep or shallow mantle convection? Or both? All of the above or none of the above? In addition, as NASA sent vehicles to outer space, the question was always asked as to whether this or that planet or moon exhibited any behavior that could be likened to plate tectonics.

“One thing that became clear immediately from the pattern of magnetic stripes in the oceans, is that the tectonic history of the oceans is much simpler than that on land. There has also been an important difference in how the exploration of each of these geographic entities was carried out. The land surface had been explored for hundreds of years at its very surface, with occasional probes to depth. It was only after mapping each of the many trees that the forest could be seen. At that, synthesis at the continental or intercontinental scale was fraught with difficulty, and the conclusions were always controversial. In the oceans, the entire process of exploration was different. The first and most of the explorations have been accomplished from the deck of a ship, usually some kilometers over an invisible ocean bottom, and later with airborne instruments and now even from satellites. This is particularly true with the magnetic data, which so dramatically illustrated the geometric regularity of the ocean basins, taken from ships 3 to 6 km above the ocean bedrock and the aeromag even a few kilometers higher. Where would we be if the oceans had been dry, and we were forced to explore amongst the canyons, rifts and hills of the bedrock surface, making our measurements of these intensely magnetized rocks, little suspecting the orderly pattern that lay hidden amongst the apparent chaos?

“I feel very fortunate that I wandered into Lamont and into this way of life, free to more or less rummage around, trying to find out how things work just for the sake of finding out, and having the privilege and pleasure of watching others do the same. In addition, I was actually paid a salary! There are probably very few universities like Columbia in which an institution like Lamont-Doherty would have been allowed to grow and flourish in such a benign fashion, so unencumbered, but none of this would have happened if it had not been for Maurice Ewing, who founded the Observatory and whose dedication, energy, and vision made it what it is today.”

—WALTER C. PITMAN, III, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Pallisades, New York

Jean-Guy E Schilling


John A Orcutt


Kirk Bryan


Charles S Cox


Charles D Keeling


Carl I Wunsch


Klaus Wyrtki


Wolfgang H Berger


William Morgan


John Z Imbrie


Kenneth O Emery


Xavier T Le Pichon


Fred N Spiess


John A Ewing


Manik Talwani


John Tuzo Wilson


Wallace S Broecker


Edward Crisp Bullard


Henry Melson Stommel


Walter Heinrich Munk


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