About The Director



Professor Russell E. McDuff became Director of the School of Oceanography in August 2004.  He earned a B.S. with Honor in chemistry in 1973 from the California Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in oceanography in 1978 from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he joined the University of Washington faculty in 1981.




In 1996 he received the distinguished graduate teaching award from the College of Ocean and Fishery Sciences, of which the School of Oceanography is part.

He studies the exchange of heat and chemicals between the ocean and ocean crust at seafloor hydrothermal vents.  Seawater circulates down into crevices and cracks in the sea floor and becomes hot enough to convect and vent back into the ocean, sometimes as forceful jets hotter than 400 C. As the fluids mix with cold ocean water, the minerals solidify, forming mounds, spires and chimney-like structures.  Lead scientist on over 40 dives in the deep submersible ALVIN to depths of up to 3800 meters, he now uses autonomous robotic vehicles to study heat and mass transfer from these systems.

He is an avid mountaineer, is certified by the Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance as an instructor, and is a Director of the 503(c) American Friends of Whistler.  He lives in Snohomish, Washington with his wife Tobae, a neurologist in private practice in Everett, Washington.  They have two college-aged sons Daniel and Mark.

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