Robert Dickson joined the Lowestoft Laboratory (now less succinctly called the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science) in 1964. Throughout his career, he has maintained four main research interests: He has contributed a wealth of direct current measurements to better understand the deep ocean circulation. He has studied the processes that drive variations in the North Atlantic, including the ocean’s response to the North Atlantic Oscillation. He has investigated how interannual to decadal changes in ocean circulation and climate have affected the Atlantic ecosystem, from plankton to commercial fish stocks. Most recently, he has chaired, cajoled, coordinated, and contributed to a major international research effort aimed at understanding the high-latitude ocean’s role in global change: the Arctic-Subarctic Ocean Flux Study.
His efforts since 1986 to measure the cold, dense Denmark Strait Overflow helped earn him the Albatross Laureate from the American Miscellaneous Society, which, in its renowned tongue-in-cheek fashion, cited him for “attempting to stem the flow through the Denmark Strait with a weir of current meters.” More conventionally, he was appointed Commander of the British Empire in January 2007 for his career-long scientific contributions.
Outside of science, he writes children’s books and plays and has a passion for antiquarian books, maintaining a collection of the early folios of Ben Jonson.