John Isaacs

Dr. John Dove Isaacs III (1913–1980), oceanog­ra­ph­er, sci­en­tist

John D. Isaacs


Direct­ed the Marine Life Research pro­ram at the Scripps Insti­tu­tion of Oceanog­ra­phy and had been with Scripps since 1948. Pro­posed that large moored bouys (orange and black “bum­ble­bee bouys”) be used in the open ocean to under­stand the ocean’s influ­ence on weath­er. Pre­cur­sors of today’s remote-sens­ing devices. Work on a space ele­vator in 1966. Con­tra­dict­ed glob­al warm­ing — showed the com­ing peri­od of glob­al cool­ing

Described by his peers as a “giant of sci­ence” [ref]

Sub­ject of a book, [amazonify]0875907695::text::::John Isaacs and His Oceans[/amazonify]

One-page memo­r­i­al [pdf]

Memo­r­i­al trib­ute by The Nation­al Acad­e­my of Engi­neer­ing, Vol­ume 2 (1984) [online jpg slideshow]


Articles and information


An Oce­nao­g­ra­ph­er looks at the non-sci­ence of ‘glob­al warm­ing’ ” by Dr. Robert E. Steven­son (trains NASA astro­nauts in marine mete­o­rol­o­gy and oceanog­ra­phy). Tells of how Prof Isaacs, when giv­ing a lec­ture to the Scripps Insti­tu­tion of Oceanog­ra­phy in La Jol­la Cal­i­for­nia back in 1972, “star­tled the entire staff” when he sug­gest­ed that the next glob­al Ice Age was to come with­in 100 years.

Pro­filed in “The New Oceanog­ra­phy,” an illus­trat­ed arti­cle in the Scripps Insti­tu­tion of Oceanog­ra­phy’s Explo­rations, vol 8 no. 2 [PDF]

For the space ele­vator Isaacs was men­tioned in “tor.html”>Space Ele­vators and oth­er Advanced Con­cepts,” a short illus­trat­ed arti­cle by Jerome Pear­son and the long arti­cle “Cable Cars in The Sky” by Hans Moravec of the Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence Lab, Com­put­er Sci­ence Depart­ment of Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty (1978) [ASCII tran­script] Orig­i­nal arti­cle by Isaacs and oth­ers in Sci­ence mag­a­zine, Feb 11 1966 and May 6 1966, “Satel­lite Elon­ga­tion into a True ‘Sky-Hook’ ”

Mon­ster cam­era” photos of the 60s

Dur­ing a 1950s drought, Isaacs pro­posed tow­ing gigan­tic ice­bergs from Antar­ti­ca to the coast of Cal­i­for­nia where they would melt and the water siphoned out to lakes. The idea was being inves­ti­gat­ed by Sau­di Ara­bia, who were con­sid­er­ing a French engi­neer­ing firm for the job. Men­tioned in Time mag­a­zine, Mar 7 1977. [link]

A young Mark Ols­son, pres­i­dent of DeepSea Pow­er and Light, heard Isaacs speak and then went to Scripps where Isaacs became his mentor. Willard Bas­com, in the intro­duc­tion of his book The Crest of the Wave, Adven­tures in Oceanog­ra­phy, describes how his intro­duc­tion to oceanog­ra­phy came in 1948 when Isaacs “recruit­ed him for a wave study con­tract for the U.S. Navy” (from a review of the book).

First published on February 20th, 2009 at 3:10 pm (EST) and last modified on February 20th, 2009 at 3:22 pm (EST).

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