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Campus Currents May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2

Swedish Science Prize

Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego scientist Walter Munk, Ph.D. (Scripps) ’47, often referred to as the world’s “greatest living oceanographer,” added the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences’ Crafoord Prize to his long list of career honors. The award ceremony will take place in Stockholm on May 11.

In its citation, the academy noted that “the great adventure of exploring the world’s oceans took place largely in the latter half of the 20th century, when new technology and novel methods of remote analysis had become invaluable tools for oceanographers.” The academy recognized Munk (shown here) “for his pioneering and fundamental contributions to our understanding of ocean circulation, tides and waves, and their role in Earth’s dynamics.” In particular it cites Munk’s grasp of the tide’s significance on various scales as crucial to his scientific work.

The prize committee also recognized Munk’s contributions to other fields such as biology and astronomy that were not even fully appreciated until several decades after he performed his original work.

Munk, who spent his entire professional career at Scripps, says he found out about the $500,000 award through a phone call and describes himself as “enormously pleased.”

—Annie Reisewitz