Geophysicist David Sandwell joins 12 other living Scripps scientists to receive the honor
May 03, 2011
David Sandwell, a professor of geophysics at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, whose activities range from advising NASA on marine geophysical initiatives to teaching incoming freshmen the science behind surfing, was named to the National Academy of Sciences on May 3. The academy announced the membership of Sandwell and two other UCSD faculty members during its 148th annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Sandwell joins 12 other Scripps scientists as living members of the academy. "It is a real honor to be elected to the National Academy and I am grateful to have a number of role models at Scripps and UCLA to guide my career," said Sandwell. One of Sandwell's most popular courses is One of Sandwell's most popular courses is "The Physics of Surfing." Sandwell's research focuses on mapping large-scale topographic features beneath the ocean using data collected by remote-sensing instruments on satellites orbiting the earth and sonars on research vessels. He has been chief scientist on several seafloor mapping expeditions to remote areas of the South Pacific. In conjunction with colleagues, Sandwell developed the most detailed map to date of the global sea floor, providing scientists with the first uniform resolution view of 70 percent of the earth and opening up new areas of research in marine geology and geophysics. He uses these data to investigate the tectonics and geodynamics of the ocean basins. He was also involved in the Magellan mapping mission to understand the geodynamics of Venus. Much of his current research is focused on the use of radar interferometry data to measure crustal deformations associated with earthquake processes. Sandwell teaches courses in geodynamics, satellite remote sensing and satellite interferometry. He is currently an advisor to three graduate students and informal advisor to several undergraduate students who work in his lab. His freshman seminar in physics of surfing is a popular class that offers UCSD students the opportunity to interact with researchers at Scripps. In addition to research and teaching, Sandwell serves as an advisor to NASA and the National Research Council on marine geophysical initiatives. He received the 2004 George P. Woollard Award from the Geological Society of America, is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union and president of the Geodesy section for 2008 through 2010. In 2008 he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Sandwell is also a member of the International Association of Geodesy and the Society for Exploration Geophysics, and has published more than 100 scientific papers. Sandwell is a pioneer in seafloor mapping. Sandwell is a pioneer in seafloor mapping. Sandwell was born in Hartford, Connecticut on April 7, 1953. He received his B.S. in physics from the University of Connecticut in 1975 and a Ph.D. in geophysics and space physics from UCLA in 1981 He worked as a research geodesist at the National Geodetic Survey from 1981 to 1985 and as a research geophysicist at the University of Texas, Austin from 1985 to 1989 before taking a faculty position at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1989. Besides Sandwell, UCSD inductees named this year by the academy were Herbert Levine, a professor in the Department of Physics and J. Andrew McCammon, the John E. Mayer Chair of Theoretical Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
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About Scripps Institution of Oceanography Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, is one of the oldest, largest, and most important centers for global science research and education in the world. Now in its second century of discovery, the scientific scope of the institution has grown to include biological, physical, chemical, geological, geophysical, and atmospheric studies of the earth as a system. Hundreds of research programs covering a wide range of scientific areas are under way today on every continent and in every ocean. The institution has a staff of about 1,400 and annual expenditures of approximately $170 million from federal, state, and private sources. Scripps operates robotic networks and one of the largest U.S. academic fleets with four oceanographic research ships and one research platform for worldwide exploration. Birch Aquarium at Scripps serves as the interpretive center of the institution and showcases Scripps research and a diverse array of marine life through exhibits and programming for more than 425,000 visitors each year. Learn more at scripps.ucsd.edu.