Monaco's Prince Albert Meets Famed Scripps Oceanographer For A Conversation On Climate Change
Prince Albert II of Monaco lauded famed oceanographer Walter Munk Thursday for the centenarian's decades of scientific work and continued studies into issues like climate change.
The prince, who followed his father's footsteps in his interest in the environment and the oceans, helped celebrate Munk's 100th birthday in a conversation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography on exploring the seas and the importance of oceanographic research.
"I remember talking to different scientists at our oceanographic museum in Monaco, and they mentioned your name more than once," Prince Albert told Munk. "So I knew from a fairly early age that you were someone very important and very special. I can see that, of course, when I come here, but I see that all over the world, where your research and your different papers and other communications were so greatly studied and appreciated."
He thanked Munk for being "an incredible voice for the oceans" and said he hopes that Poseidon — the god of the seas — "is keen to keep you with us for a long time."
Munk celebrated the centennial of his birth last week. The city of San Diego recognized him by adding his name to a part of the boardwalk at La Jolla Shores where he conducted experiments.
Munk related a story about when he was a junior at Caltech in Pasadena, and dated a young woman whose parents lived in La Jolla. He came to visit and was offered a summer job.
"We lived off abalones that we picked from the old pier here at Scripps. We ate it for breakfast, lunch and dinner — I've never been able to eat abalones since," he said, eliciting laughter from the audience.
Munk said he struck up relationships that summer with people who would become his future colleagues.
Munk joined Scripps in 1939 as a doctoral student. He subsequently invented the science of forecasting waves — which assisted allied landings in World War II — and trained military meteorologists.
He also pioneered tide prediction, and many aspects of ocean acoustics, ocean circulation, and deep-sea tides. More recently, he has explored the relationship between changes in ocean temperature at sea level and the ocean between ice sheets and the sea floor.
Earlier this year, Prince Albert launched a three-year campaign of scientific explorations to remote locations at sea.
The only head of state to visit both poles, he received the Roger Revelle Prize from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 2009 to recognize his efforts to raise environmental awareness and advance scientific understanding.
Monaco is an independent city-state located on the Mediterranean coast of France, with a population of nearly 39,000.