The Office of Naval Research has announced that Dr. Robert A. Holman of Oregon State University and Dr. William A. Kuperman of Scripps Institution of Oceanography have been appointed jointly to a four-year term as the FY 2004 Secretary of the Navy/Chief of Naval Research Chair in Oceanographic Science. They will succeed Drs. Arthur Baggeroer of MIT and Robert Weller of Wood's Hole Oceanographic Institution, who shared the post from 1999 through this year.
The CNO Executive Board established the Oceanographic Science Chair in 1995 to recognize the critical role that oceanography plays for the fleet, to highlight it as a core Navy competency, and to promote the best oceanographic research and education. The Chair, which is supported by ONR, is expected to help develop closer relationships between the oceanographic community and the operating fleet.
Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Jay Cohen, in a letter to Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Acquisition, and Development) John Young nominating Holman and Kuperman, said that "The nominating packages of the new Chairs … stood out among the distinguished group of proposals. Scripps and OSU illustrated the excellence of their research teams, strong student productivity, and substantial cost sharing. Their plans for liaison with Navy activities clearly marked them as superior."
Acting Secretary of the Navy Hansford Johnson's letter to the new Chairs said that "understanding the ocean is fundamental to our national security, as well as to global economic and environmental well-being. A robust competency in oceanography is a core requirement and responsibility of the U.S. Navy."
The appointments provide a $300,000 annual grant to each institution for four years of support for oceanographic research, covering the cost of the Chair and for several graduate student researchers.
OSU's Holman, an oceanographer for 23 years, earned his B.S. with honors in mathematics and physics at the Royal Military College, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, and his Ph.D., with a specialization in physical oceanography at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia. He joined the faculty of OSU's School of Oceanography in 1979. Between 1986 and 1989 he served as associate editor of Marine Geology, a professional journal. In 1989-1990 he acted as an assistant manager for ONR's Coastal Sciences program, returning to OSU in 1991.
In 1995 he held the Belle van Zuylen Chair at the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands. He continues his association with OSU, and also acts as a consultant for Navy Special Projects at Mitre Corp. His particular interests range from nearshore physical oceanography to large-scale coastal behavior and nonlinear dynamic systems in nature. He also has contributed to projects related to satellite remote sensing and remote small scale mine burial processes.
Holman contributed to the development of the Coastal Imaging Laboratory, which extracts wave and beach measures from video imagery. He served on a National Science Foundation ad hoc committee for establishment of a coastal engineering program and the NSF Coastal Geology task force, and many other professional and technical organizations. He has published more than 50 refereed papers encompassing theoretical, observation, and technical areas.
Kuperman started his career as a junior scientist for the Acoustics division of the Naval Research Laboratory in 1967, working on experiments to isolated single modes in shallow water. He continued his shallow-water acoustics work until earning his Ph.D. in physics at the University of Maryland with support from NRL's Edison program.
In 1976 he joined the SACLANT Undersea Research Centre in La Spezia, Italy, where he acted as the first group leader for the groups Environmental Modeling Group, participating in research that helped develop the concept of "optimum frequency" in shallow water.
In 1976 he became head of the Numerical Modeling division of NRL's Stennis Space Center detachment, which carried out extensive work in acoustic and oceanographic modeling. He also helped to develop an underwater shock model that took into account the complexities of the ocean environment.
Kuperman returned to NRL in 1985, and contributed extensively to work on global optimization. He headed NRL's Space-Based anti-submarine warfare program, and helped introduce global optimization for bottom geophysical inversion. He joined Scripps in 1992 as professor and director of the Institution's Marine Physical Laboratory, where he continued his work in global acoustics. He has contributed extensive original work in acoustics, seismics, signal processing, and physical oceanography, and supported the Navy's marine mammal signal processing, and physical oceanography programs. In recent years he has supported the SACLANT Center's work in the field of time reversal acoustics.