Russ Davis, a research oceanographer at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego whose observational research and invention of scientific instruments is widely credited for transforming oceanography, will receive the 2007 Prince Albert I Gold Medal from the International Association for the Physical Sciences of the Oceans (IAPSO).
Davis has advanced observational, as well as theoretical, components of physical oceanography, according to the association. His accomplishments include a leading role in the development of autonomous Sounding Oceanographic Lagrangian Observer (SOLO) floats used in Argo, an array of instruments spread throughout the world's oceans that make physical measurements at a coverage level never before possible. Davis has also been instrumental in developing the Spray glider, a programmable self-propelled craft containing a suite of measurement instruments that can collect data over long distances and at a variety of ocean depths.
The association cited Davis' seminal contributions in research areas that range from fluid mechanics to ocean waves, turbulence and mixing, analysis methods for ocean observations, climate variability and its impact on ecosystems.
"Davis has pioneered the development of autonomous platforms for in situ ocean observations. His contributions have been the scientific and technological catalyst for a revolution in ocean observations permitting systematic measurements to be made in remote and previously sparsely observed areas by the international Argo Programme," the association said.
"This prestigious, well-deserved award recognizes Russ's pioneering role in developing the autonomous floats and gliders that are now revolutionizing the field of ocean observations," said Scripps oceanographer Dean Roemmich, co-chairman of the Argo steering committee. "His development work led directly to programs like the global Argo float project, allowing the oceans to be seen in ways that were never previously possible."
The medal will be presented on July 4, 2007, during the 2007 General Assembly of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) in Perugia, Italy. Previous recipients include Scripps physical oceanographer Walter Munk, who won the medal in 2001.
"Previous winners Walter Munk, Klaus Wyrtki and Fritz Schott are tremendously productive and influential physical oceanographers and to be listed among them is a flattering treat," Davis said. "It is particularly gratifying that the citation mentions the impact of the autonomous vehicles that, through the Argo program, are making possible continuous observation of the ocean on a global basis. In this, I represent a huge team of people whose collaborative efforts have made this new approach to sampling possible."
IAPSO, which includes former Scripps Director Roger Revelle as one of its past presidents, is one of seven associations of the IUGG, which in turn is constituted within the International Council for Science (ICSU). The association describes its prime goal as "promoting the study of scientific problems relating to the oceans and the interactions taking places at the sea floor, coastal and atmospheric boundaries insofar as such research is conducted by the use of mathematics, physics and chemistry. The award is named for Prince Albert I of Monaco, who established the IUGG in 1919.
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