Thursday, July 8, 2010

Pioneers of modern ocean science meet to launch book

From Hydro International

Today, almost one hundred ocean scientists who once worked at the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) near Godalming, UK, are to meet at Southampton's National Oceanography Centre to launch of a book "Of Seas and Ships and Scientists".
The event will be co-hosted by the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) and by the book's publishers, Lutterworth Press.
It will feature photographs and material of the NIO era held in the NOC archives.

The book describes the origins of NIO in the inter-war years and during World War II, and its development under the charismatic leadership of the late Sir George Deacon.
The book's chapters are all written by former NIO scientists and are filled with personal anecdotes, descriptions of doing science at sea and of the groundbreaking discoveries made in the 1950s, 60s and 70s that underpin present day marine science.

The book shows how the institute's science changed our understanding of the world's oceans.
This book captures the excitement of a formative phase of UK science during and immediately following WWII.
It links back to scientists working at Antarctic whaling stations and the complimentary voyages of Captain Scott's Discovery that explored the vast icy Southern Ocean, funded by a tax on whale oil.
In the depths of WWII a small group of young scientists were brought together under the inspirational leadership of Dr (later Sir) George Deacon, and shortly after the end of the war, the UK's first National Institute of Oceanography was formed.
The discoveries from 50 years ago underpin our modern-day science.
The book's chapters are all written and edited by NIO scientists and convey the atmosphere of work at sea in a bygone age before small computers, satellite navigation and easy communication.
The book is A useful introduction for students of marine and/or environmental science.
It will appeal to many scientists and the general public, to those interested in science and innovation during and after WWII and of course to many living in the Surrey who always wondered what went on in the leafy lanes that were home to NIO and its successors for almost 50 years.

The book was the idea of Dr John Gould of the NOC who also worked at NIO.
His co-editors are :
• Sir Anthony Laughton a geophysicist, who from 1978 to 1988 was Director of the Institute of Oceanographic Sciences, NIO's successor.
• Professor Howard Roe, a biologist who later became Director of the Southampton Oceanography Centre (1999 - 2005) and,
• "Tom" Tucker, an expert of ocean instrumentation who in 1944 at the age of 19 joined the Admiralty's Group "W" (for waves) that became part of NIO.

Despite being more 30 miles from the sea, the NIO was Britain's first truly national laboratory for studying the oceans and was the forerunner of the National Oceanography Centre.

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