The Sverdrup Visiting Scientist Program is a two-day event held annually at Augsburg College. It was established in 1990 by Johan N. Sverdrup of St. Louis in memory of his father, Major General Leif J. Sverdrup, a 1918 graduate from Augsburg College. In 1991, the Minnesota Space Grant Consortium became a co-sponsor of this event to help fulfill its mission of increasing public awareness of the space sciences in Minnesota.
The objectives of the Sverdrup Visiting Scientist Program are, first, to provide an opportunity for Augsburg students and faculty to interact on a personal basis with scientists of national stature. Second, the program provides an annual forum where Augsburg students, area colleges and the wider scientific community can expand their knowledge on a scientific topic of national significance. High lights of this event include a public lecture by the Visiting Scientist followed by a reception where attendees can meet and talk personally with the Visiting Scientist. Additional events include a student luncheon, an afternoon seminar and one-on-one exchanges between faculty and the Visiting Scientist.
This year's Sverdrup Visiting Scientist was Dr. Walter Munk of Scripps Institute of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego. For the past 50 years, Dr. Munk has conducted research in the areas of waves, tides, ocean currents and internal waves. Earlier, Dr. Munk was a student of the great Arctic explorer, Harald U. Sverdrup, the older brother of Leif J. Sverdrup. During World War II, Sverdrup and Munk devised a method of predicting wave conditions for allied amphibious landings. In recent years, Dr. Munk has been working on an acoustic method for charting the ocean waters. Following is an abstract of his lecture given on April 25, 1994 at Augsburg:
The oceans are a vital component of global change. On an Earth without oceans, the greenhouse warming of the atmosphere would be two or three times larger than on the Earth with oceans. There has been much talk and few observations whether in fact the ocean is undergoing climatic change in response to greenhouse warming. The possible effect is not easily measured. We estimate it to be of the order of 0.01 C per year, yet the ocean typically varies from month to month by a degree or more due to the natural ocean variability. We are working towards measuring the ocean acoustically. The speed of sound increases with temperature, so the travel time of an acoustic pulse between two fixed points will diminish with calendar time in a warming ocean. The existence of an "ocean sound channel" makes it possible to transmit acoustical pulses across entire ocean basins. To test this hypothesis, in a recent experiment, acoustic pulses were successfully recorded halfway around the Earth.
Dr. Munk is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of London. He has an honorary degree from the University of Bergen and Cambridge University. In 1964, Dr. Munk shared with Leif Sverdrup the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement. Dr. Munk also received the National Medal of Science from President Ronald Reagan. His most recent honor is the 1993 Polar Bear Award from the Nansen Remote and Environmental Center in Bergen, Norway.
Next year's visiting scientist will be Dr. Lucy McFadden, Professor of Astronomy at the University of Maryland. Dr. McFadden heads the world-wide observation effort of the comet that recently collided with Jupiter. Her lecture is scheduled for April 24, 1995, and should be quite interesting. Anyone interested in attending the lecture and meeting Dr.McFadden should contact Vivian Johnson at (612) 330-1253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.