Shortly after disembarking from a research ship in Italy, Jeffrey Book, M.S. ’98, Ph.D. ’07, a civilian physical oceanographer at the Naval Research Lab at Stennis Space Center, Miss., flew to Washington, D.C., where he was awarded a Presidential Early Career Award.
Book’s journey to the White House began in a small town near Cincinnati where, as a boy, he often pretended to be Jacques Cousteau, researching undersea biology in his backyard. The path veered to physics studies at the University of Missouri-Rolla. After graduation, he applied to several graduate schools, including our Graduate School of Oceanography. The GSO and oceanography was not his first choice, but all that changed when he visited the campus. You could say it was love at first sight—with the school and later that summer with Majorie Kelner ’96, his future wife.
Mark Wimbush was Book’s advisor for both his master’s thesis and his doctoral dissertation. “Mark’s teaching and mentorship has played a huge role in my early career, and I try my best to model his dedication to learning, teaching, and excellence in science,” said Book. “My training at GSO influences nearly all of my work, especially the emphasis on understanding ocean dynamics through observation.”
Starting full time at the NRL in 1999, one of Books’ first assignments was a continuation of his collaboration with Wimbush and the GSO’s Randy Watts in the Sea of Japan.
Book’s work as principal investigator for the Navy lab project, Dynamics of the Adriatic in Real Time with the NATO Undersea Research Centre and 23 other institutions, has led to an improved understanding of how waters of different characteristics interact when they meet at ocean boundaries and form complex flow structures that can affect activities taking place in the sea. Those observations can be used to evaluate our ability to predict the ocean in the short term with numerical models.
Book contributed to the development and use of new technologies to measure ocean structures and provide the data in real-time so it can be immediately used by prediction models to make more accurate forecasts of ocean conditions.
Book is continuing such work off the North West shelf of Australia studying the effect of strong tides on ocean predictability, but in 2012 he will shift gears for a case study on ocean fine structures off South Africa. “My recent work on the Agulhus Return Current has brought me full circle to my URI master’s thesis work on the Kuroshio current as once again I am working on western boundary current dynamics,” he says.