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50 Years of Ocean Discovery: National Science Foundation 1950—2000
superb mechanism for enabling research larger than that supported by a single grant, but they should not be allowed to dominate the field. (RIDGE-related research accounts for all of the targeted funds in the special program and competes successfully for about 35 percent of the core funds.) Nor should they continue for so long that several generations of students learn of nothing else.
Special initiatives have provided a forum for planning larger research programs that has replaced the internal planning that used to occur within the confines of the oceanographic institutions. The big difference is that we all must spend endless hours on airplanes instead of wandering down the hall. Of course, planning was not as extensive in those days as it appears to be today. Denny Hayes recalls having been chief scientist on the Vema in 1968 for support of the deep-sea drilling leg to date the basal sediments along the South Atlantic profile to be drilled on Leg 3. The site survey was being accomplished, literally, a few days ahead of the drilling. At one point, Denny jumped from Vema into a Zodiac with rolled seismic records under his arm to deliver the data (and I believe some whiskey) to the Glomar Challenger. Dick Von Herzen, co-chief scientist on the drill ship, recalls happily taking delivery of the data and whiskey, and reciprocating with some beef—high seas barter in the far South Atlantic. These days, planning is so extensive, time-consuming, and exhaustive that it has led one jaded investigator on soft money to remark, "It is cheaper for NSF to pay us to plan than to pay us to do science."
When I was asked to review the history of marine geology and geophysics from the perspective of NSF sponsorship, I firmly believed that I would end up regretting the assignment. It was sure to be a time-consuming task with low prospects for gaining personal or professional satisfaction from the result. However, as I became more involved in putting together my notes for this paper, my view took an about-face. I came to realize that as the director of the only oceanographic institution in the nation that can still set its own ship schedule, determine its own research priorities, and commit itself to high-risk, long lead time, interdisciplinary research, it is essential that I understand what sort of science the NSF and the ONR of the 1950s and 1960s were best suited to accomplish, as contrasted with the type of science that succeeds today and indeed during the entire tenure of my own research career. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute must go after the problems that go beyond what can be addressed by the individual investigator with a three-year grant and one month of ship time. We should seek out those vaguely defined areas of ocean science still in search of a fundamental paradigm on which to base testable hypotheses. And we should work to develop those research tools that no one else is so bold to propose for seagoing research.
I am indebted to a large number of colleagues who shared with me their memories and their institutional archives. In particular, material in this report reflects information gleaned from Bob Arko, Jim Cochran, Bill Curry, Deborah Day, R.L. Fischer, Denny Hayes, Jim Hays, Charlie Hollister, Ken Johnson, Garry Karner, Walter Munk, John Mutter, John Orcutt, Mike Reeve, George and Betty Shor, Stu Smith, Fred Spiess, Scott Tilden, Dick Von Herzen, and Jeff Weissel. Thank you all for your time, your generosity, and your insights.
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