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News Release

Two WHOI Scientists Named 2012 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

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Media Relations Office

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January 27, 2012

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Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Senior Scientists Lloyd Keigwin and Robert Weller have been elected 2012 fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Election as a fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.

With nearly 120,000 individual and institutional members and 262 affiliates, AAAS is the world's largest federation of scientific and engineering societies. Each year, the AAAS honors fellows whose “efforts on behalf of the advancement of science or its applications are scientifically or socially distinguished.”

AAAS officials cited Keigwin for “distinguished contributions to the study of the ocean's role in climate change and for national and international leadership.” He is among 14 new fellows in the field of Geology and Geography.

Weller is among eight new fellows in the field of Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Science, and he is being honored for his “distinguished scientific and technical leadership in developing and using instruments capable of precise and long term measurements of wind, surface currents and surface fluxes.”

As a symbol of their accomplishments, Keigwin and Weller will each receive a certificate and a blue and gold rosette at the Fellows Forum on February 18 during the 2012 AAAS Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada.

“The extensive list of accomplishments by Bob Weller and Lloyd Keigwin in advancing our knowledge about the ocean is a testament to their long and continuing research scholarship,” said WHOI President and Director Susan Avery. “We are grateful that they both chose to pursue careers at WHOI, because these awards not only recognize their scientific leadership, but bring honor to our Institution.”

Lloyd Keigwin

Following completion of a bachelor’s degree in geology at Brown University, Keigwin served on active duty as a naval officer on a destroyer escort. He received both his master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Rhode Island. He began his career at WHOI in 1980 as an assistant scientist in the Geology and Geophysics Department. He was promoted to associate scientist in 1984 and to senior scientist in 1993. Keigwin continued to serve in the Naval Reserve and retired as a Captain in 1999.

Keigwin's research focuses on climate and oceanographic change based on studies of deep-sea sediments, with special emphasis in the western North Atlantic and the North Pacific oceans. He was among the first to document a change in Atlantic water mass properties during the last ice age.

Keigwin was the first recipient of WHOI's Edna McConnell Clark Chair for Excellence in Oceanography in 2005. He also served as Chair of the Steering Committee for the Natural Environment Research Council’s Rapid Climate Change Program from 2001 to 2008. He was a member of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Arctic System Science Advisory Committee from 1996 to 2002, and a member of the NSF Earth System History Panel in 2001.

"I am surprised and honored to be selected for this award from AAAS,” Keigwin said. “It’s nice to be recognized, but there are many other deserving scientists here at WHOI and around the world. Research is a collaborative effort, and I’m grateful to all of my colleagues who have contributed to my research over the years.”

Bob Weller

Robert Weller received a bachelor’s degree in engineering and applied physics from Harvard University in 1972 and a doctorate in physical oceanography from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, in 1978. He joined the WHOI staff in 1979 as a postdoctoral scholar in the Physical Oceanography Department. He was promoted to associate scientist in 1984 and to senior scientist in 1988.

Weller’s research focuses on atmospheric forcing, surface waves on the upper ocean, prediction of upper ocean variability, and the ocean’s role in climate. He has been a pioneer in developing tools and technologies that enable scientists to investigate upper ocean processes on scales from meters to tens of kilometers and with accuracy never before available.

Weller is co-principal investigator of the Coastal and Global Scale Nodes of the NSF-funded Ocean Observatories Initiative. He serves on the international Ocean Observing Panel for Climate, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Observing System Council, and the NOAA Climate Working Group. He is vice-chair of the Ocean Research Advisory Panel and recently chaired the National Research Council committee on the Assessment of Intraseasonal to Interannual Climate Prediction and Predictability. 

During his career, Weller has received numerous honors, including the Sverdrup Gold Medal in 2003 from the American Meteorological Society. He was named Secretary of the Navy/Chief of Naval Operations Oceanographic Research Chair by the Office of Naval Research in 1999 and was awarded the American Geophysical Union’s Macelwane Medal in 1986.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by my peers and to be included in the group of talented, dedicated scientists who have been elected AAAS Fellows,” Weller said.

The tradition of AAAS Fellows began in 1874.  Members can be considered for the rank of Fellow if nominated by the steering groups of the Association’s 24 sections, or by any three Fellows who are current AAAS members (so long as two of the three sponsors are not affiliated with the nominee's institution), or by the AAAS chief executive officer.

Each steering group then reviews the nominations of individuals within its respective section and a final list is forwarded to the AAAS Council, which votes on the aggregate list. The Council is the policymaking body of the Association, chaired by the AAAS president, and consisting of the members of the board of directors, the retiring section chairs, delegates from each electorate and each regional division, and two delegates from the National Association of Academies of Science.

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a private, independent organization in Falmouth, Mass., dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. Established in 1930 on a recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences, its primary mission is to understand the oceans and their interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate a basic understanding of the oceans’ role in the changing global environment.

Originally published: January 27, 2012