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Tom Sanford Named SECNAV/CNO Chair of Oceanographic Sciences

Congratulations to Tom Sanford, Principal Scientist at the Applied Physics Laboratory and Professor of Oceanography. Tom has been named a Secretary of the Navy/Chief of Naval Operations Chair of Oceanographic Sciences. This prestigious award, one of two nationwide, provides $300,000 per year of support for Tom and his postdocs and graduate students over the next four years. Tom's research interests include the measurement and interpretation of motionally-induced electric fields in the sea and within channels; structure and dynamics of ocean currents, eddies and waves; generation, propagation and dissipation of internal waves and microstructure; magnetotelluric studies in the deep sea; and oceanographic sensors and instrumentation. Tom has advised 7 Ph.D. students and 4 M.S. students and regularly taaught a popular course on methods and measurements in physical oceanography.

Congratulations to Daniel Schwartz, our Manager of Marine Operations, who has been selected as a MTS Fellow. This honor will be conferred on September 16 at the Oceans 2008 MTS/IEEE conference in Quebec.

Dan holds a BA from University of Chicago, a MMA from the University of Rhode Island, is a USCG-licensed Master, and recently received his FAA flight instructor certificate. He has worked in academic marine operations at University of Miami and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution and as a Policy Fellow at Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education. He joined the School of Oceanography in 1998.

The MTS citation:

If professional success were the sole criteria for MTS Fellow, Captain Daniel S. Schwartz would qualify. He has authored 31 papers and presentations throughout his long career and currently serves as Manager of Marine Operations at the University of Washington’s School of Oceanography. But Captain Schwartz has also excelled as a member of MTS, providing an exemplary example of dedication. He has served on the MTS Board of Directors as vice president for education and research and as vice president on technical affairs. During his tenure, he led the reorganization of the MTS technical and professional structure, and was the driving force in a major re-write of the bylaws. While serving as VP for education and research, he convened a task group to evaluate MTS programs that support education and scholarship s, assembling a team of MTS members equally passionate about education. By commissioning this process, he took the first step in a new model for using task forces to further important MTS initiatives as outlined by the Board of Director’s strategic plan. Because of his many successes both professionally and for MTS, the society is pleased to honor Captain Schwartz with an MTS Fellow.

Hood Canal Nitrogen Sources

Several oceanography faculty participated in the Hood Canal Science Summit on Monday, June 30. Learn more in articles from the Seattle Times, Bremerton Sun, and Tacoma News Tribune in which Jan Newton, Allan Devol and Jeff Richey are quoted.

Seaglider Technology Licensed


The Seaglider represents a decade of effort in the School of Oceanography and the Applied Physics Laboratory. These low-power autonomous vehicles profile the upper 1000 meters of the water column for extended periods, communicating with shore after each dive.


Over the past year the development team, with the help of UW Technology Transfer, has been working toward commercialization of this technology. We are pleased that iRobot has licensed the core technology.

Congratulations to the Oceanography faculty, staff, students and alumni on the developer team: Charlie Eriksen, Jim Osse, Jim Bennett, Neil Bogue, Craig Lee, Geoff Shilling, Fritz Stahr, Troy Swanson, John Ballard, Andy Chiodi, Randy Fabro, Bill Fredericks, Amanda Gray, Mike Johnson, Karl Kunkle, John Kumph, and Kirk O'Donnell.

iRobot Enters Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Market

License with UW TechTransfer Secures Sole Rights to the Seaglider™ Vehicle, and Technology

San Diego, Calif., (AUVSI Booth #1121) and Bedford, Mass., June 10, 2008 – iRobot Corp. (Nasdaq: IRBT) today announced a sole licensing agreement with UW TechTransfer at the University of Washington to commercialize Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Seaglider technology previously supported by the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation. The agreement with both the Applied Physics Laboratory and School of Oceanography reinforces the company’s strong ties to world class academics.

“We have a strong track record for transferring new technology from research initiatives into products that support military missions,” said Helen Greiner, co-founder and chairman of iRobot. “Ten years ago we transformed the original PackBot into a combat-proven robot used today by soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and licensing the Seaglider from the University of Washington will help our robots conquer new underwater frontiers.”

Seagliders help civilian, academic and military personnel make oceanographic measurements at a fraction of the cost of traditional research vessels or moored instruments. These long-range, high-endurance vehicles economize on energy consumption with a buoyancy-based propulsion system to support mission ranges of thousands of kilometers and deployments lasting weeks to several months. Instruments can be attached to the Seaglider to persistently collect oceanic physical properties across a range of depths and areas, providing valuable insights to oceanographers and military planners.

“This is a wonderful example of the University of Washington’s commitment to build partnerships with industry, and to successfully transfer innovative research to the commercial sector. Our federal sponsors expect the University to be able to transition technology from the academic laboratory into the marketplace. We’re delighted to have formed a great relationship with iRobot. We’re convinced that their strength in building autonomous robots is a terrific fit for the Seaglider technology,” explains Russell McDuff, Director of the School of Oceanography.”

The Office of Naval Research funded the original research and development behind Seaglider technology beginning in 1995 and is currently testing this vehicle for additional applications. More than 70 Seagliders have been delivered and are currently in operation all over the world. Recent deployments include waters off Norway, Greenland, Taiwan, the Philippines and Iceland.

About UW TechTransfer

Established in 1982, UW TechTransfer facilitates the commercialization of new innovations arising from UW research through the management and licensing of intellectual property. Since the department’s founding, UW TechTransfer has helped create more than 235 companies in Washington state and abroad. In FY07, UW TechTransfer generated $38 million in total revenue from all sources. Additionally, UW TechTransfer manages a total patent portfolio of over 2000 issued and pending patents filed in the U.S. and around the world. For additional information about UW TechTransfer, visit

About iRobot Corp.

iRobot is a provider of robots that perform dull, dirty or dangerous missions in a better way. The company's proprietary technology, iRobot AWARE™ Robot Intelligence Systems, incorporates advanced concepts in navigation, mobility, manipulation and artificial intelligence. This proprietary system enables iRobot to build behavior-based robots, including its family of consumer and military robots. For additional information about iRobot, visit

More information on Seagliders can be found on the Seaglider Fabrication Center and APL webs and in the UW press release:

iRobot secures licensing agreement for UW's Seagliders: "University of Washington record-holding, ocean-observing robots that operate at sea for months at a time - traveling thousands of miles at the behest of operators on land directing activities via a satellite phone network - will be commercially produced by iRobot under a licensing agreement announced this week."

(Via | RSS | UW News Releases (all categories) | University of Washington Office of News and Information.)

A creative graphic featuring Slim Pickens/Maj. T.J. 'King' Kong of Dr. Strangelove

Crawling into the record book


Professor Eric D'Asaro has a new celebrity in the family, the holder of the Guinness world record for the mile crawl, 22:04.

Crawling into the record book: "Now, it's safe to say Laura D'Asaro crawls faster than anyone on record. At least faster than anyone on record with Guinness. The Nathan Hale High..."

(Via The Seattle Times: Local News.)

UW Environmental College Plan Sparks Debate


UW environmental-college plan sparks debate: "To many people, the idea that the University of Washington would create a new College of the Environment seems a no-brainer: Some of the..."

(Via The Seattle Times: Local News.)

Considering the College of the Environment


There is mixed opinion among our faculty whether this new college would be a better home to the School of Oceanography. We are engaged in the UW discussion and will be making a decision in early 2009.

New college to meet growing complexity, scale of environmental threats: "The University of Washington Board of Regents today received a preliminary blueprint for a new college that will position the UW to be the leader in environmental research and education, and to better resolve complex regional, national and international environmental challenges, according to Provost Phyllis Wise."

(Via | RSS | UW News Releases (all categories) | University of Washington Office of News and Information.)

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Corrosive ocean water moving shoreward


Our PMEL colleagues continue to expand understanding of ocean acidification...

Corrosive ocean water moving inland: "The ocean is getting more corrosive, closer to shore, decades earlier than anyone expected, thanks in large part to all of the carbon dioxide being pumped into the air, according to new research from scientists in Seattle."

(Via Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Local News.)

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries in the External News category.

Education is the previous category.

Honors is the next category.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.