Professor A. D. Kirwan, Jr., program director of Physical Ocean Science and Engineering at the University of Delaware, was recently appointed as the Mary A. S. Lighthipe Chair in Marine Studies by University President David P. Roselle and Provost Melvyn Schiavelli. Named after the Delaware native whose charitable gift made the appointment possible, this honor is bestowed on the basis of distinguished teaching and scholarship.
In nominating Kirwan, Dr. Carolyn A. Thoroughgood, dean of the UD College of Marine Studies (CMS), cited his international reputation stemming from his extensive record of scholarship, his well-supported resarch program, and his active role in graduate research. Kirwan's service to the University was also highly attested to by his colleagues at CMS.
"I was surprised and quite honored to receive the endowed chair," said Kirwan. "CMS has an outstanding faculty and staff that nurtures graduate education and research."
Kirwan joined CMS last year as professor and director of the Physical Ocean Science and Engineering (POSE) program. The POSE program was established in 1998 under the leadership of Richard Garvine, Maxwell P. and Mildred H. Harrington Professor of Marine Studies, to provide a focused academic program within CMS in coastal physical oceanography.
As national attention has shifted from the deep sea to the near-shore marine environment, Kirwan has been instrumental in developing and expanding partnerships with universities such as Brown University in Rhode Island, the California Institute of Technology, and Old Dominion University in Virginia; government research laboratories such as the Naval Research Laboratory and NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT) Undersea Research Centre in Italy; and Ocean Physics Research & Development in Hawaii in the private sector.
These partnerships have been crucial in advancing research in the coastal zone. For example, in a recent research project, Kirwan teamed with scientists at the Naval Postgraduate School in California to collect radar data in Monterey Bay, Calif. Kirwan used these data, in collaboration with scientists at Old Dominion University, to improve an existing computer model of ocean circulation designed by scientists at Ocean Physics Research & Development.
Kirwan received his bachelor's degree from Princeton University and his doctorate from Texas A&M University. His book Mother Nature's Two Laws: Ringmasters for Circus Earth, recently published by World Scientific, introduces nonscientists to thermodynamics and explains how this science is applied in issues of societal concern. Kirwan has written more than 65 peer-reviewed publications, is a former editor of both the Journal of Geophysical Research and Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics, and co-edited the book Rapid Environmental Assessment published in 1998. He has received numerous awards and honors including a Fulbright Research Fellowship and lectureships at universities throughout the world.
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.