Thompson Receives 2013 Ocean Sciences Early Career Award

Andrew Thompson received the 2013 Ocean Sciences Early Career Award at the 2013 AGU Fall Meeting, held 9–13 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes “significant contributions to and promise in the ocean sciences.”


Thompson_AndrewI would like to thank my nominator, Jess Adkins, as well as my supporters for their contributions to my nomination and the AGU Ocean Sciences section for its selection. It is an honor to join the past recipients of this award.

I have had the privilege to interact with and learn from a number of talented scientists. The two who deserve the most recognition are Bill Young and Karen Heywood. Bill’s responses to my “quick, 2-minute questions” never lasted less than 2 hours and always required at least one complete covering of the blackboard. I do not remember a time when I left (or staggered from) his office without some new and typically profound idea to consider. It is the mentoring relationship that I strive to emulate with my own students. Karen was brave to hire me when I threw my hat into the observational ring and continues to be supportive of my group’s work. Karen, with her love of a good gadget, is responsible for getting me hooked on ocean gliders, and I am thrilled that it has resulted in us continuing to collaborate on exciting science together.

Based on these influences, it is perhaps not surprising that my research interests have veered toward the intersection of dynamical questions about rotating, stratified, turbulent fluids and the interpretation of these dynamics from hard-earned but ultimately imperfect sets of observations. Pursuing these interests has given me the opportunity to work at a number of diverse institutions, and I especially acknowledge the support of the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council, which provided a great deal of independence shortly after my Ph.D. Along the way I have benefited from conversations with too many people to mention here, although George Veronis, Peter Haynes, Alberto Naveira Garabato, Raf Ferrari, and Jess Adkins have been particularly helpful. Most importantly, this journey would not have been nearly as fun or productive without my family sharing the experience and propping me up along the way.

The combination of autonomous vehicles and satellite products is changing how observations interface with ocean circulation models. Making the best use of these resources will be a challenge for our generation. I look forward to tackling this topic through the always stimulating and often humbling experience of advising students and postdocs. It makes my appreciation of those who have supported me all the stronger.

—ANDREW THOMPSON, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena