Dr. George Luther, a chemist in the University of Delaware Graduate College of Marine Studies (CMS), has been appointed the Maxwell P. and Mildred H. Harrington Professor of Marine Studies. University President David P. Roselle and Provost Melvyn D. Schiavelli selected Luther for the honor for "his distinguished and scholarly contributions to teaching and research and his valuable service to the University and his profession."
"The appointment to a named professorship is one of the highest levels of achievement for a faculty member," said Dr. Carolyn A. Thoroughgood, dean of CMS. "We congratulate Dr. Luther on this well-deserved recognition."
A member of the CMS faculty since 1986, Luther conducts a variety of marine chemistry research -- from analyzing seawater for minute quantities of metals essential to life called trace elements, to exploring the relationship between electrical current and chemical reactions.
During the past few years, he and his colleagues have built needle-like microelectrodes that can be inserted into ocean waters and sediments to simultaneously measure a host of different chemicals that serve as environmental health indicators. The specialized sensors have been used to reveal the chemistry of habitats ranging from salt marshes to deep-sea hydrothermal vents.
So far in his CMS career, Luther has served as associate dean, advised 25 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and published more than 150 journal articles, reports, and book chapters. He frequently has been invited to speak at universities in the United States and abroad. In 1996, the University of Cardiff in Wales awarded Luther its highest honorary title of Distinguished Visiting Fellow.
He also is the associate editor of the journals Marine Chemistry, Aquatic Geochemistry, and Geochemical Transactions and serves on several national scientific committees. In 1997, he chaired the Division of Geochemistry of the American Chemical Society. For the past three years, he was a member of the National Science Foundation's Steering Committee for the Future of Chemical Oceanography in the U.S. (FOCUS). This past summer, he was appointed by the National Academy of Sciences to the U.S. National Committee for the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics.
Luther joins two other Harrington professors at CMS: Richard Garvine, a physical oceanographer who discovered the Delaware Coastal Current, and David Kirchman, a microbiologist who has made significant revelations about the critical functions performed by marine bacteria in plant nutrient and carbon cycles.
The Harrington professorship was created at the bequest of the late Maxwell P. and Mildred H. Harrington. Both Delaware natives, the Harringtons were fascinated by the ocean and took great interest in the UD College of Marine Studies. Mr. Harrington was a UD alumnus, graduating in 1950 with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering. He worked for the federal government in marine sciences for several years and served as an engineer at Camp Lejeune, the U.S. Marine Corps base in Jacksonville, North Carolina. In later years, he retired with his wife, Mildred, to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
After Mr. Harrington's death in 1983, Mrs. Harrington continued to support CMS as a Marine Associate. Prior to her death in 1990, she donated to the college an extensive seashell collection amassed during her and her husband's travels. A representative sampling of the collection is on permanent display at the CMS research complex in Lewes.