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Scripps Oceanography Pioneer Arrhenius Dead At 96

A Scripps Institution of Oceanography researcher Gustaf Arrhenius is pictured...

Credit: Courtesy of Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Above: A Scripps Institution of Oceanography researcher Gustaf Arrhenius is pictured in this undated photo.

Gustaf Arrhenius, a Scripps Institution of Oceanography researcher who helped shape the region’s scientific future, died Feb. 3. He was 96.

Arrhenius came to Scripps in the 1950s and worked with famed oceanographer Roger Revelle. Arrhenius was lured to San Diego by Revelle who found the young student’s work with sediment cores interesting.

Arrhenius pioneered research into deep-sea sedimentation. And along with his colleagues expanded the boundaries of the field of geochemistry. Arrhenius was one of the key scientists that analyzed lunar samples brought to earth by the Apollo space missions.

His son, Thomas Arrhenius, said his father played a part a golden age of research at Scripps.

“What he would point to is the fact that he had done so many different things,” Thomas Arrhenius said. “He was a man who had really broad interests. And he didn’t stay focused on one particular thing for his entire career. Instead, he dabbled in many different areas. Really, I think that’s what he enjoyed doing the most.”

Thomas Arrhenius said his father also influenced the future of one of the region’s top college campuses.

“He was there at the time when UCSD, the campus, was founded. And he participated, really, in the recruiting of new faculty and sort of forming the structure of the new campus,” he said.

Arrhenius helped Revelle prepare for the opening of the UCSD campus in 1960. He helped recruit many of the humanities and science professors who ended up taking teaching positions here.

Arrhenius also found time to publish more than 150 scientific papers and books.


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Erik Anderson
Environment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI focus on the environment and all the implications that a changing or challenging environment has for life in Southern California. That includes climate change, endangered species, habitat, urbanization, pollution and many other topics.

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