George Veronis

Henry Barnard Davis Professor of Geophysics and Applied Science, Professor of Geophysics and Mechanical Engineering

George VeronisGeorge Veronis, B.S. Lafayette College, Ph.D. Brown University, faculty member at Yale since 1966, you are a scholar of versatility and distinction. Through your long, productive career you have focused your attention and talents on the dynamics of fluids in general and the ocean in particular, first as a member of the Numerical Forecasting Group of the Institute for Advanced Study, then successively as a mathematician at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, a member of the faculty at M.I.T., and finally, and most successfully, as a faculty member at Yale, where you taught the subjects of physical oceanography, applied mathematics and geophysical fluid dynamics, directed the Applied Mathematics Program, and chaired the Department of Geology and Geophysics.

You launched the modern understanding of how fluids, poised on the brink of instability, evolve to form the patterns that characterize astrophysical, geophysical and experimental systems. Your analytical theory of the circulation of the world ocean is the most successful and ambitious ever attempted and in the face of modern numerical simulations its predictions remain robust. You have teased out the dynamical implications of the differential diffusion of density controlling species in the oceans and far beyond. You have successfully investigated the dynamics of rotating, differentially heated fluids, and you were among the first to recognize the importance of laboratory experiments in the investigation of nonlinear flow phenomena. In 1959 you co-founded, and still lead, the immensely successful Geophysical Fluid Dynamics program, a ten-week summer research workshop in fluid dynamics at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for both experienced researchers and young scientists. The 300-plus alumni of the program have shaped the modern field of geophysical fluid dynamics.

You have received many honors, among them memberships in the National Academy of Sciences, the America Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters, Fellowship in the American Geophysical Union, the Cody Award from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the Stommel Award from the American Meteorological Society, and an honorary DSc from your alma mater, Lafayette College. The award of a Senior Queens Fellowship took you to Australia in 1981, starting a long-term interest in that country and particularly in its remarkable bird life, a topic in which you have become an expert. With thanks for honoring Yale and the fields of fluid dynamics and physical oceanography with your scientific accomplishments and teaching skills, this faculty sends you off with all good wishes for many more trips down under, and many more summers in Woods Hole. 

Tribute Editor: Penelope Laurans