Dr. Peter Worcester to receive the Walter Munk Award

Walter Munk Award for Distinguished Research in Oceanography Related to Sound and the Sea

The Walter Munk Award for Distinguished Research in Oceanography Related to Sound and the Sea will be presented to Dr. Peter F. Worcester on February 24, 2006, at the 13th Ocean Sciences Meeting, a joint meeting of the American Geophysical Union, The Oceanography Society, the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, and the Estuarine Research Federation, in Honolulu, HI.

Dr. Worcester is being recognized for "his early and continuing contributions to the development of acoustical oceanography and tomographic inverse methods for acoustic measurement of ocean processes, for tireless service aimed at developing a responsible permitting structure for the use of sound in the sea for scientific purposes, and for leadership in the U.S. ocean acoustics community." He is a leading international figure in acoustical oceanography and a pioneer in the field of ocean acoustic tomography.

Since 1978, Dr. Worcester has been a Research Oceanographer at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, where his research interests center on the application of acoustic remote sensing techniques to the study of ocean structure and circulation. Dr. Worcester has led numerous experimental programs to develop and use tomography, each employing ever more sophisticated techniques. In 1987 he led a successful experiment north of Hawaii that measured large-scale relative vorticity and tidal currents by acoustic means. In a 1988–89 acoustic tomography experiment in the Greenland Sea, convective chimneys were observed acoustically. He has been an integral part of the international Heard Island and ATOC demonstrations, which began around 1990. Recently, in an experiment across the mouth of the Mediterranean, he showed that differential acoustic phase measurements can be used to estimate average currents. His research, while on the cutting edge of new acoustic technology and methodology, has always emphasized oceanography, particularly measurements that are uniquely possible by acoustic techniques.

Presently Dr. Worcester is leading the acoustic tomography component of HOME, NSF's Hawaiian Ocean Mixing Experiment, and he is leading ONR's multi-year North Pacific Acoustic Laboratory (NPAL) program. These are large national efforts addressing important, timely oceanographic and ocean acoustic issues.

Dr. Worcester will receive a silver medal, commemorative lapel pin, and a certificate bearing the signatures of the Secretary of the U.S. Navy and the President of The Oceanography Society. He is the 8th recipient of the Munk award since it was first given to Walter Munk in 1993.


The Walter Munk Award is granted jointly by The Oceanography Society, the Office of Naval Research, and the Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy. Recipients are selected based on their significant original contributions to the understanding of physical ocean processes related to sound in the sea; significant original contributions to the application of acoustic methods to that understanding; and outstanding service that fosters research in ocean science and instrumentation contributing to the above.

The Office of Naval Research and the Oceanographer of the Navy are scientific agencies within the Department of Defense. The Oceanography Society was founded as a non-profit organization in 1988 to disseminate knowledge of oceanography and its application through research and education, to promote communication among oceanographers, and to provide a constituency for consensus-building across all the disciplines of the field.

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) manages science and technology research for the Navy and Marine Corps. ONR sponsors basic and applied research in oceanography, advanced materials, sensors, robotics, biomedical science and technology, electronics, surveillance, mathematics, manufacturing technology, information science, advanced combat systems, and technologies for ships, submarines, aircraft, and ground vehicles--and more.

For information about ONRīs programs, go to http://www.onr.navy.mil.

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Apr 2016
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