Victor C. Anderson: 1922-2012


Victor C. Anderson, a research oceanographer at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, whose anonymous donation with his wife established the Victor Alderson Chair of Applied Ocean Science in 1982, died Nov. 3 at his San Diego home. He was 90.

Anderson's affiliation with Scripps extended more than 40 years. He joined Scripps as a student in 1947. His scientific research interests included acoustic signal processing, underwater acoustics and ocean engineering.

Anderson was born to missionary parents in Shanghai, China, on March 31, 1922. He enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles as a graduate student in physics in 1946. After a year in residence at UCLA, he joined the University of California's Marine Physical Laboratory (MPL) at Scripps. His research at MPL in the study of the deep scattering layer completed the requirements for a Ph.D., which he received in 1953.

The following year, Anderson was granted a postdoctoral fellowship at the Acoustics Research Laboratory at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. While at Harvard, he designed and developed a digital time compression technique (DELTIC) for application to acoustic signal processing.

Anderson returned to Scripps' MPL in 1955 and continued his research in the field of acoustical signal processing and ocean engineering. Topics of his research included the spatial and temporal distribution of acoustic ambient noise in the ocean and development of the remote underwater manipulator (RUM). In addition, he invented the digital multibeam steering system (DIMUS), a computationally efficient approach for preferentially listening in many directions at once. It is used in sonar systems on U.S. Navy ships and submarines. Anderson served as deputy director of MPL from 1976 until his retirement in 1989.

Anderson was the recipient of the National Security Industrial Association's 1986 Admiral Charles B. Martell Technical Excellence Award for his work in the development of the DIMUS system. He also received the Navy's 1976 Distinguished Public Service Award.

A fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, Anderson had also been a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and a member of the National Research Council Committee on Navy Publications.

Anderson and wife Anne established the Alderson Chair in 1982 with a $250,000 gift through her company, InterOcean Industries, Inc. The chair was named for Anne Anderson's grandfather, Victor Alderson, who was himself a noted scientist descended from the original Mayflower pilgrims. He served twice as president of the Colorado School of Mines during his career. Alderson settled in La Jolla after his retirement and lived there until his death in 1946.

The current holder of the Alderson Chair, Scripps Professor of Climate and Atmospheric Science Veerabhadran Ramanathan, credited the endowment established by Anderson with helping him launch many of the initiatives that have helped him to reveal the large contribution of what are known as short-lived climate forcers to global climate change. These forcers include soot and other forms of black carbon, methane and commonly used refrigerants. Action to control these types of global warming agents was advanced earlier this year by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who launched the international Climate and Clean Air Coalition in February.

"I am indebted to the Alderson chair for this long-standing support," he said.

A memorial service for Anderson is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 16, at Point Loma Community Presbyterian Church, 2128 Chatsworth Blvd., San Diego, Calif. 92107. The service will be held in the main sanctuary. A reception will follow in the Family Life Center. In lieu of flowers, the Anderson family asks that friends consider making a contribution in memory of Victor Anderson to a charity of their choice.

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