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Dan Fornari to Receive American Geophysical Union’s Flinn Award

Dan Fornari

December 15, 2014

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Senior Scientist Daniel Fornari has been selected to receive the 2014 Edward A Flinn III Award from the America Geophysical Union (AGU).

Established in 1991, the Edward A Flinn III Award is given annually to an individual or small group who personifies the Union’s motto of unselfish cooperation in research through their facilitating, coordinating and implementing activities. This award is for the unsung heroes who provide the ideas, motivation, and labors of love that build and maintain the structure without which our science could not flourish.

“I am humbled to accept this prestigious honor,” Fornari said. “My sincere thanks to AGU, and to Mike Perfit, Susan Humphris, Mark Kurz, and Ken Macdonald for our scientific partnerships over the past 30-plus years, and their generous citation and nominations for the 2014 Edward A. Flinn III award.”

Fornari is a marine geologist and senior scientist in the Geology & Geophysics Department at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). He is known for his research on volcanic and hydrothermal processes, and high-resolution mapping at mid-ocean ridges, and the structure and magmatic processes occurring in oceanic transforms and at oceanic islands, such as Hawaii and the Galápagos.

In his more than 35 years of seagoing experience, Fornari has participated in over 80 research cruises in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans, and has completed over 100 dives in Alvin and other Navy submersibles. He is the author or co-author of more than 100 scientific papers. Together, he and Dr. Susan Humphris developed the Dive and Discover™ website in 2000 (, an education and outreach website that brings the excitement of oceanographic science to thousands of students each day. Dan has served on numerous scientific panels, and national and international committees including the President Clinton’s Commission on Ocean Exploration.

Fornari has served in numerous leadership capacities over the years including Chair of the Ridge2000 Program, Director of WHOI’s Deep Ocean Exploration Institute from 2004-2008 and again from 2010-2014, and as the Chief Scientist for Deep Submergence at WHOI.

“Anyone familiar with Daniel J. Fornari will attest to his energy, creativity, and dedication to advancing the field of marine geology,” wrote Mike Perfit in his nomination letter to the AGU. “His tireless and unselfish commitment to leading and facilitating deep-sea research and the development of instrumentation for the oceanographic community make him an ideal recipient of the Edward A. Flinn III Award.”

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a private, non-profit organization on Cape Cod, 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 ocean and its interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate a basic understanding of the ocean’s role in the changing global environment. For more information, please visit