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WHOI Waypoints: Awash in Medals and Awards

John Farrington, vice president for Academic Programs and dean of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, was presented with the 13th Bostwick H. Ketchum Award. He was recognized for his pioneering work on the inputs and fates of organic contaminants (such as oil) in coastal and open-ocean sediments, and for his leadership in the scientific community, including numerous activities for the National Research Council. Farrington is the first WHOI scientist to receive the award.

The Ketchum Award was established by WHOI in 1983 to honor a scientist who demonstrates an innovative approach to coastal research, leadership in the scientific community, and attention to the effects of marine pollution on the coastal environment and society. The award is named for oceanographer “Buck” Ketchum,
who served WHOI for more than 40 years as a graduate student, scientist, chair of the Biology Department, member of the corporation, and
associate director.


The American Geophysical Union (AGU) has named Bruce Warren, scientist emeritus in the WHOI Physical Oceanography Department, as the 2004 recipient of the Maurice Ewing Medal. Warren was cited for “contributions to the understanding of the general circulation of the ocean, including water mass formation by sea-air interaction, deep and surface boundary currents and interior flow, planetary waves, and the impact of global integral momentum constraints on the ocean circulation.”

The Ewing Medal is presented to geoscientists who make significant contributions “to the understanding of physical, geophysical, and geological processes in the ocean; to those who advance oceanographic engineering, technology, and instrumentation; and to those who perform outstanding service to the marine sciences.”

Warren is among five WHOI scientists to have been awarded the Ewing Medal, including Henry Stommel (1977), John Ewing (1982), Kenneth Emery (1985), and current Scientist Emeritus Richard Von Herzen (1998).


Three WHOI staff are among 41 scientists selected in 2004 as Fellows of the American Geophysical Union. Fellows are selected for the “acknowledged eminence in a branch of the geophysical sciences” and their “outstanding contributions to the advancement of the geophysical sciences, to the service of the community, and to the public’s understanding.” The new fellows from WHOI are:

William Curry, senior scientist in the Geology and Geophysics (G&G) Department and director of the WHOI Ocean and Climate Change Institute, “for his broad pioneering contributions allowing reconstruction of ocean circulation from paleoceanographic tracers.”

Peter Kelemen, senior scientist in G&G, “for seminal contributions to the physics and chemistry of melt migration and the formation of oceanic and continental crust.”

John Toole, senior scientist in the Physical Oceanography Department, “for his significant discoveries and descriptions of ocean processes from turbulent mixing to the general circulation and for his innovative development of instruments to observe
these processes.”

Nineteen current members of the WHOI scientific staff are fellows of the AGU, and 13 graduates of the MIT/WHOI Joint Program have achieved the honor.


The WHOI Henry Bryant Bigelow Chair for Excellence in Oceanography has been awarded to Rob Olson of the Biology Department. The award, named for the Institution’s first director, is given to a senior scientist in recognition of extraordinary accomplishments in marine scientific research and education.

Colleagues praised Olson for his fundamental contributions to the modern understanding of plankton. “In the last 20 years, Rob has developed a world renowned reputation in the application of single-cell approaches to studying marine microbes...Rob served as a technological leader, pioneering the use of flow cytometry at sea.”

The Bigelow Chair provides five years of support for researchers to further their scientific research and higher education activities.


This winter, Greg Hirth of the Geology and Geophysics Department was elected secretary of the tectonophysics section of the AGU. During his two-year term as secretary, Hirth will be a primary communicator and organizer for scientists in his field and will help organize scientific meetings of the AGU.


Scott Doney, associate scientist in the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department, was one of 20 scientists chosen for a fellowship in the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program for 2004. Doney will spend two weeks in intensive training designed to help environmental scientists from the United States, Mexico, and Canada become better communicators of scientific information and of the societal relevance of research.

The Leopold Leadership Program was launched in 1998 to improve the flow of accurate, clear scientific information to policymakers, media, and the public. The program is named for Aldo Leopold, a renowned environmental scientist and author of A Sand County Almanac.

Doney applied for the fellowship because he has found it difficult to communicate to nonscientific audiences about his research on the ocean carbon cycle. “I realized that policymakers, reporters, and the general public come at these issues from a different angle,” Doney said. “I want to learn to be more effective in explaining what I am doing, what my colleagues are doing, and where it all fits into the bigger picture.”


WHOI Scientist Emeritus Robert Ballardwas one of 10 recipients of the National Humanities Medal in 2003. Along with his achievements as a scientist and explorer, Ballard was cited for his role in using advanced technology to bring ocean science and undersea archaeology to students and the public through “telepresence” programs such as the JASON Project.

The National Humanities Medal, first awarded in 1989, honors “individuals whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities, broadened citizens’ engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand America’s access to important resources in the humanities.” Ballard was joined by Sesame Street creator Joan Ganz Cooney, actor Hal Holbrook, and novelist John Updike, among other medalists.

Originally published: July 1, 2004