Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
podcast_1400-MiddayEdition.jpg
KPBS Midday Edition Segments

History Of Scripps Institution Of Oceanography Showcased In New Book

 July 28, 2021 at 11:36 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 And it's 120 year history. Scripps institution of oceanography has been a leader in Marine research and the study of climate change, their scientific breakthroughs are globally known. And now that history is showcased in a new book featuring 200 photos. Robert Monroe is the author of images of America, Scripps institution of oceanography. He's also a communications officer at scripts and he joins us now. Robert welcome. Speaker 2: 00:27 Hi Jade. Thanks for having me. So Speaker 1: 00:29 How did the idea for this book come about? I know it's one in a series of books about the history of local places, right? Speaker 2: 00:37 They, uh, publisher Arcadia publishing came to us first looking for an author and my office fielded that initial request. And so I sort of took it on and originally I always took the idea to a script's is a retired historians. There's Peter Brogan and Debra Day who just know everything there is to know about scripts, but they are retired in fact, and, uh, enjoying retirement. And I think they just didn't have the bandwidth for it. So after that, I just volunteered myself. To me, it kind of made sense. I've been writing about script's history, uh, last 20 years and just a few years ago, scripts and star installed kind of an art installation and its main building sort of depicting script's history. And so that required me to do a lot of research on, uh, what the key events in the script's history, where, and also to get an inventory of all the photos. So in a sense, I had already kind of laid the groundwork for this book four or five years ago. Hmm. You know, Speaker 1: 01:32 Scripps institution of oceanography has been, uh, well an institution in San Diego since 1903. So why did you want to tell the story of its history? Well, Speaker 2: 01:42 You know, it's kind of amazing, uh, Scripps hasn't really had any kind of popular a history book written about it as far as I can tell for at least 50 years. And, you know, we can't take it for granted that everyone is in San Diego understands why scripts is a big deal and it's world. And, um, you know, I'm never really sure how much I think people know of scripts its reputation, but they may not know just, uh, specifically where that reputation comes from. Um, and then I'm a little bit biased. I work there, but I mean, among research centers where we really are the, the pinnacle in our fields yeah. In oceanography, there are entities like Noah or the UK has met offices that are bigger operations in terms of people and budgets and so forth. But, uh, in academia scripts really is the place in the world that still holds that title scripts. Pedigree is really something that means something to scientists and, you know, plus, I mean, we're in California and, you know, California is relatively young and there aren't too many places in California that can be said to be the place in the world for whatever their particular focus is. And so it's kind of cool that we have this one right here in San Diego. Speaker 1: 02:52 So, so what are some of the highlights of the institution's history then that people, as you say may not know about? Speaker 2: 02:58 Well, the term oceanography as is defined now among scientists, uh, originated here. Uh, it originated, uh, around, uh, world war II in the form of a book about oceanography that could, can became the Bible of oceanography. The term oceanography had been bouncing around since the 1870s, but it meant different things to different people, you know, for some immense or like that part of geology that extended in the oceans, uh, there's meant sort of more Marine biology stuff, but there was never really a holistic view of oceanography until a script's researchers wrote this textbook, which they wrote because everything else was kind of lacking, you know, that, you know, of course, materials that they were trying to use to teach students are we're good on this point or that point, but not as an overall connection of biology earth systems and the atmosphere that really has come to comprise what oceanography is now. Speaker 2: 03:55 So that's one thing the argument can strongly be made that the modern era of climate change research started right here at Scripps. I date it to the beginnings of the Keeling curve, uh, which started in 1958. And for people that don't know, that's the measurement of carbon dioxide in the air a few years ago and over 400 parts per million and got a lot of attention for that. But that's like the barometer of climate change and that's ours. Uh, there are other things, um, coastal oceanography or the study of beaches and, and, and, and surf zone processes and things like that pretty much started with one guy here. And now every researcher who is in that field, he kind of considers themselves like the son of that guy in an academic sense or the grandson or granddaughter or great-granddaughter by this point, probably the biggest advancement in oceanography in my opinion, is as a network it's called Argo. And it's like a network of robotic floats that go out in the oceans and, and can measure what's going on in the oceans down to 2000 meters, which is about 6,500 feet. And never before in history, we've been able to see all of the oceans at once like this. Um, and this is transforming the way we see the oceans because, you know, we just can't have that kind of view any other way. Yeah, Speaker 1: 05:13 Absolutely. And what do you hope readers take away from this book? Speaker 2: 05:18 I really hope people in San Diego realizes what a gym. This is. Um, I mean, how this is like a world-class place. I make the point in the book and probably people will dispute it, but, uh, I'll stand by it. You know, I think without scripts, a lot of the character of San Diego that we have now doesn't happen because scripts was through the academic center that brought about, say, UC San Diego in 1960, UC San Diego is what brought about the golden triangle, your Qualcomms, and so forth. And so, you know, this community of early science professionals I think, was really attracted to San Diego and large part I'm sure not entirely, but by the influence of scripts and making the city, or like a, really a real destination kind of place. Speaker 1: 06:03 I've been speaking with Robert Monroe, a writer and editor at Scripps institution of oceanography. Robert, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you so much for having me and you can catch Robert later today and Warrick's, he'll be speaking about his new book images of America, Scripps institution of oceanography at 4:00 PM. Speaker 3: 06:29 [inaudible].

Ways To Subscribe
MiddayEd_generic-new_O2uxZ5A.jpg
The book is part of a series of books on the history of local places. It's called “Images of America: Scripps Institution of Oceanography.”
KPBS Midday Edition Segments