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Louis St. Laurent Receives Nicholas P. Fofonoff Award From AMS

Louis Laurent Louis St. Laurent, an associate scientist in the WHOI Physical Oceanography department, was selected by the American Meteorological Society to receive the 2012 Nicholas P. Fofonoff Award. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

January 19, 2012

Louis St. Laurent of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) was selected by the American Meteorological Society (AMS) to receive the prestigious Nicholas P. Fofonoff Award. There will be a formal presentation at the Annual Awards Banquet on January 25, 2012, at the AMS annual meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The award is given annually to an early-career scientist who has demonstrated outstanding ability and research achievement in the field of physical oceanography. St. Laurent was chosen by the council to receive the 2012 honor for his “fundamental contributions to our understanding of small-scale mixing processes in the ocean and the different dynamical processes involved.”

Established in 2007, the award was named in honor of Nicholas P. Fofonoff, a WHOI physical oceanographer renowned for his research on the dynamics of ocean currents. Fofonoff, who served twice as chair of the WHOI Physical Oceanography Department during his career, passed away in 2003.

“For me, the best part about getting this recognition is that it is named for Nick Fofonoff,” St. Laurent said. “He was one of the senior statesmen of physical oceanography, and a pillar of the department at WHOI. I was fortunate to get to know Nick while I was a student, when he was working on aspects of ocean mixing quite relevant to my own work.  It is an honor to receive an award named for him.”

St. Laurent’s work includes research on turbulent processes, internal waves and tides, and boundary-layer processes. He obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1994 and a doctorate from the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in 1999. Following positions at the University of Victoria and Florida State University, St. Laurent returned to WHOI in 2009 as an associate scientist with tenure in the Department of Physical Oceanography.

“This is a wonderful honor that reflects on the excellence of Lou St. Laurent ’s research,” said WHOI President and Director Susan Avery.

With more than 14,000 members, the AMS is the nation’s leading professional society for those involved in the atmospheric and related sciences. Nominations for the Nicholas P. Fofonoff Award are made by AMS members and are considered by the Oceanographic Research Awards Committee, which makes recommendations for final approval by the AMS Council.

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a private, independent, non-profit 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 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.