The Dedication – Doug Webb
As tradition now has it, the first blog entry is our dedication. Today we dedicate Rutgers Glider Mission #138, our second mission under the I-COOL banner, to Doug Webb, the inventor of the Slocum autonomous underwater glider.
Doug’s accomplishments span a 50 year career in ocean technology development. His company, Webb Research Corporation, already builds over 80% of the world’s ARGO drifters. Doug and his company are now enabling the growing global legacy of the Slocum electric and thermal gliders. The science fiction we read in 1989 is now the way we go to sea. Now we hear world renowned scientists describe the inexpensive robotic gliders as the future of oceanography. When it comes to transforming how we observe and study the ocean, Doug Webb’s vision of the future, his long-term dedication to making that vision a reality, his perseverance in problem solving, and his willingness to share his invention with others, stands as an inspiration to all scientists and students of the sea.
Previously at Rutgers, we recognized Doug’s influence on us through the dedication of one of our labs, naming it in his honor. Here we dedicate to Doug the most ambitious Slocum Glider mission we have ever undertaken. We have chosen this mission since we are deploying our first glider that, at least in theory, has the capacity and endurance to potentially fly across the Atlantic. But this is no virtual study. We are going to sea, and at sea we will encounter unexpected events and situations. We are far from certain that we will make it across, but we do know we will learn more by trying than by staying home. We also know that with uncertainty lies adventure, and it is that sense of adventure that will inspire others. Regardless of what happens over the next several months, we will achieve our primary goal, that of entraining students in a voyage of inspiration.
We are grateful to Doug for taking us in, and allowing us to be part of the development of this magnificent new tool that will span the distances between countries, and help us all realize that yes, just like we teach in school, there really is only one ocean on which we all depend.
The R.U. COOL Team