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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI oceanographer elected to National Academy of Engineering

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. -- March 9, 2006 -- A University of Rhode Island oceanographer has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, making him one of just seven scientists in the state to ever have been so honored.

H. Thomas Rossby, a URI professor of oceanography since 1975, was elected to the Academy in February and was cited for his “development of deep-ocean instruments and their application in shaping an ocean observing system.” During his extensive career, his research has focused on understanding ocean circulation, especially the Gulf Stream, and how it impacts weather and climate around the world.

He has published countless papers and earned numerous awards for his work, including the Munk Award from The Oceanographic Society and the 2006 Suomi Award from the American Meteorological Society. He is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union and a member of the American Academy of the Arts and Sciences.

“To be a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering is an extraordinary distinction and testifies to a career of exceptionally imaginative and valuable contributions to oceanography from both the scientific and engineering fields,” said David Farmer, dean of the URI Graduate School of Oceanography. “Tom’s distinction brings credit to us all and serves as a beacon to all those who would bring their scientific and engineering skills to solve fundamental problems in ocean science.”

A native of Boston who now lives in Saunderstown, Rossby earned his engineering degree in applied physics at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, and a Ph.D. in oceanography at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Retired professors Geoffrey Boothroyd and Robert Clagett are the only other URI faculty members elected to the National Academy of Engineering. Four professors at Brown University are also members.

Founded in 1964, the National Academy of Engineering has 2,000 members and associates who provide the leadership and expertise for numerous projects focused on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. Under its charter, which it shares with the National Academy of Sciences, it is directed "whenever called upon by any department or agency of the government, to investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science or art."