A Prize Fit for a Prince

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Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego rolled out the “green” carpet for an environmentally conscious royal visitor October 23.

His Serene Highness Prince Albert, Head of State and Sovereign Prince of Monaco, was at Scripps to receive the Roger Revelle Prize for his efforts to support and communicate scientific research and protection of the environment on a global scale. The Roger Revelle Prize is named for the former Scripps director and UC San Diego founder who had a tremendous influence on the field of climate science.

During his time a Scripps, Prince Albert participated in a roundtable discussion with Scripps scientists and students studying ocean acidification. He also toured the Scripps Oceanographic Collections repository of fish specimens and visited Birch Aquarium at Scripps.

The Prince’s visit also celebrated future collaboration between Scripps Oceanography and Monaco on ocean acidification research. While inside Birch Aquarium’s Feeling the Heat: The Climate Challenge exhibit, representatives from the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation signed a memorandum of understanding with Scripps Oceanography, formally solidifying an alliance to explore the planet’s most pressing, global scientific challenges, including the growing problem of ocean acidification.

 “Our research efforts into the threats from ocean acidification, and other challenges from climate change, will be more comprehensive and more fruitful by working together,” said Scripps Director Tony Haymet of the collaboration with Monaco.

As the the Roger Revelle Prize recipient, Prince Albert delivered an afternoon talk at UC San Diego on the value of science and the need for immediate and long–term action to save an environment in serious jeopardy. Lecture attendees also screened a film about the Prince’s recent three-week expedition to Antarctica, where he visited a large number or scientific stations in support of research in the polar regions. Mayor Jerry Sanders participated by formally welcoming Prince Albert to “America’s Finest City” and presenting him with a key to the City of San Diego.

“As we continue our work to ensure a sustainable future for our planet, we are so grateful for people like Prince Albert, whose contributions improve our environment and our world,” said UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox.

In the evening, Scripps hosted a fundraising dinner gala in Prince Albert’s honor. All proceeds from the event will go toward the Roger Revelle Leadership Fund at Scripps, which provides critical support to help recruit and retain outstanding students, faculty, and researchers to Scripps. Major support came from event chair Helen K. & James S. Copley Foundation and lead underwriter Betty Knight Scripps.

It is tradition for the physical Roger Revelle Prize to be an original token that represents the recipient’s connection to Scripps. Prince Albert was presented with a display of shells from the Scripps Oceanographic Collections, which show the corrosive effects of ocean acidification on marine organisms—an environmental problem of great interest to the Prince.

In his acceptance remarks, Prince Albert paid tribute to the legacy of Roger Revelle’s life work and his significant contributions to the understanding of climate science, calling him a man “ahead of his time.”

“As I receive this award, I’d like to formally wish that we can, at last, place ourselves on a level with Roger Revelle’s legacy, able to act just as he was able to think, placing our actions in accordance with our knowledge, and without further delay,” said Prince Albert. “We owe it not only to him, but to those who followed him, to his students, and to our fellow human beings and all living creatures on this planet.”

Prince Albert was only the second person to be awarded the Roger Revelle Prize at Scripps. Former Vice President Al Gore, a former student of Revelle, received the inaugural Roger Revelle Prize in March 2009 in conjunction with Scripps’ celebration of what would have been Revelle’s 100th birthday.

It's not too late to join the celebration by supporting the Roger Revelle Leadership Fund at Scripps. To make your gift online, visit http://supportscripps.ucsd.edu/Give_Now and select "Roger Revelle Leadership Fund" or contact the Scripps Development Office at revelleprize@ucsd.edu or 858-822-4313.

 

--Shannon Casey

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