The story of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego began with a zoologist looking for a location on the California coast to establish a marine biology station and a local philanthropist with the drive to help him realize his vision.
An enthusiastic group of townspeople had been determined to make Ritter’s decision an easy one. In 1903, they formed the Marine Biological Association of San Diego and named Ritter the scientific director. The association raised money for the construction of a small laboratory at La Jolla Cove and by 1907, La Jolla became the permanent location of the new biological station.
It was in the early years of the war that Scripps Director Harald Sverdrup, who had replaced Vaughan in 1936, and student Walter Munk devised the first surf forecasts. The two would go on to teach prediction methods to military meteorologists, who used it to time Allied landings on beaches in North Africa and Europe, most notably the D-Day landing in Normandy.
The tradition continues today through programs like Argo, an international network of robotic floats that give scientists, for the first time in history, a way to see what is happening in all oceans simultaneously. The network, launched in 1997, is considered one of the biggest advances in the history of oceanography.