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Three at WHOI Receive Senior Technical Awards for Technical Innovation and Excellence in Educational Activities

November 16, 1998

Daniel E. Frye, Barrie B. Walden and Carl 0. Wirsen have been named recipients of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Senior Technical Staff Awards for their contributions to the development of technology and their efforts to guide younger staff in their careers. Each award is approximately $60,000 and is intended primarily for salary support anytime during a three-year period following the award. The Senior Technical Staff Awards are presented in recognition of the individual’s accomplishments in engineering and instrument development and their commitment to mentorship, and partnership with junior technical staff.

“The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has a long-standing tradition of excellence in research and education and in access to the sea,” WHOI Director Robert Gagosian said in announcing the awards. “One of the most unique qualities of the Institution is its extraordinary engineering and instrument development capabilities which enable the essential links between research and the sea. Behind these links are our Technical Staff. With the current state of research support in this country, it is important that we act now to preserve and build upon our strengths.”

Daniel Frye, a specialist in data telemetry from oceanographic instruments, buoys and mooring systems, is a senior research specialist and physical oceanographer in the Institution’s Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering Department. He received his B.S. degree in physics from American University in 1968 and his M.S. degree in physical oceanography from Oregon State University in 1971. After three years as an associate scientist at Argonne National Laboratory’s Center for Environmental Studies in Illinois, Frye joined the staff of EG&G Environmental Consultants in Waltham, MA, in 1974 as a senior physical oceanographer and group leader. In 1983 he moved to Falmouth to Join Ferranti ORE’s Ocean Services Division as division manager. Frye joined the WHOI staff in 1987 as a research specialist in the Physical Oceanography Department, and in 1996 he was appointed a senior research specialist in the Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering Department. He was named Manager of the department’s Advanced Engineering Laboratory earlier this year.

Frye is author or co-author of more than 70 technical publications and reports, and holds one patent on an oceanographic instrument, with another submitted.

Barrie B. Walden has been manager of WHOI’s Submersible Engineering and Operations group, which includes the three-person deep-diving submersible Alvin,since 1982. He has also served as Manager of Shipboard Scientific Services since 1988 and as Manager of the WHOI Diving Program and the Institution’s Mooring, Rigging and Staging Facilities since 1990. Walden grew up in Florida and received his B.S. degree in ocean engineering in 1969 from Florida Atlantic University. After holding several positions as a design engineer and marine field engineer for commercial firms, he joined the WHOI staff in 1969 as a research assistant and was promoted to research associate the following year. In 1983 he was named a research specialist, and in 1989 was promoted to Principal Engineer, the Institution’s highest position for an engineer.

Walden’s research interests include manned and unmanned undersea research vehicles and support equipment, scientific saturation diving facilities, and the development of specialized oceanographic research tools and instrumentation. He served as manager and operations director of the National Underwater Laboratory System’s scientific saturation diving research facility HYDROLAB, in St. Croix from 1978 to 1980. Walden has also worked on drilling platforms, research vessels, and has had a lead role in the design and operation of the Deep Submergence Vehicle Alvin, which WHOI has operated for the American research community since 1964. He holds a patent for an underwater torpedo recovery device, and is one of the principal investigators of the Institution’s Autonomous Benthic Explorer (ABE). The autonomous vehicle is capable of working on the ocean bottom at depths up to 6,000 meters (20,000 feet) for periods up to one year before returning to the surface for servicing.

Carl 0. Wirsen, a microbiologist and research specialist in the Biology Department, has worked at the Institution for more than 30 years. He is interested in microbial degradation of organic matter in the ocean and related environmental concerns, and in hydrothermal vent microbiology, including bacteria that survive at extremely high temperatures. He received his B.S. degree from the University of Massachusetts, and an M.A. degree from Boston University in 1966. He worked as a research associate in the Laboratory of Applied Microbiology at Harvard University from 1966 to 1968 before joining the WHOI staff in 1968 as a research assistant, beginning a long collaboration with the late microbiologist Holger Jannasch. He was promoted to research associate in 1970 and to research specialist in 1976. Wirsen has served as chief scientist or participating scientist on more than 50 oceanographic cruises in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and Black Sea since 1969, and has been a participant in more than 65 dives in deep submergence research vehicles, including WHOI’s three-person Alvin. He holds one patent on a deep-sea high pressure sampling device.

WHOI established the Senior Technical Staff Awards in 1996. Nominations are solicited from the Institution’s scientific and technical staffs. To date nine individuals have been recognized.