Professor A. D. Kirwan, Jr., has joined the faculty of the University of Delaware Graduate College of Marine Studies (CMS). Formerly, he was the Samuel L. and Fay M. Slover Chair of Physical Oceanography at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va.
Kirwan will direct the Physical Ocean Science and Engineering Program, one of four academic program areas at CMS. Established last year under the leadership of Richard Garvine, Maxwell P. and Mildred H. Harrington Professor of Marine Studies, the program is designed to prepare graduate students for careers as physical oceanographers, coastal engineers, acoustics specialists, and other professions requiring a keen understanding of ocean physics.
Kirwan has a diversity of experience in marine research, teaching, and administration. His career has included active duty as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, program director of the Physical and Chemical Oceanography Program at the U.S. Office of Naval Research, research specialist in geotechnical hazards for Exxon Production Research, and professorships at New York University, Texas A&M University, University of South Florida, and Old Dominion University.
As a research scientist at Texas A&M University in the 1970s, Kirwan pioneered the application of satellite technology to the measurement of ocean currents. He deployed the first drifting buoys in the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf Stream, and the Gulf of Mexico that were tracked by satellite to reveal ocean current speed and direction. Today, this technology is widely used in marine research, weather forecasting, and the global positioning system (GPS).
Currently, with support from the U.S. Office of Naval Research, Kirwan and his research team are working with scientists from Brown University, the California Institute of Technology, the Naval Research Laboratory, Old Dominion University, and the University of Miami to improve computer models of ocean circulation by merging data from a variety of sources, such as moored and drifting buoys and radar from shore-based and satellite platforms. One goal of this research is to develop computer models that will assist in the rapid environmental assessment phase of emergency response to hazardous waste spills and other environmental crises. Kirwan co-edited the book Rapid Environmental Assessment, which was published in 1998.
Kirwan received his bachelor's degree from Princeton University and his doctorate from Texas A&M University. He has written more than 75 peer-reviewed publications, is editor of the journal Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics, and has received numerous awards and honors including a Fulbright Research Fellowship and lectureships at universities in Europe, China, Japan, and the former Soviet Union.
In 1989, he was invited by the Ukraine Academy of Science to lecture at the Marine Hydrophysical Institute in Sevastopol. He was the first American to live in Sevastopol since World War II.
Kirwan's research team includes Drs. Bruce Lipphardt and Mike Toner. All are based in Robinson Hall on the Newark campus.