Kenneth Emery of WHOI dies at 83

Kenneth O. Emery, a geologist who served as the first dean of the joint Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution/MIT graduate program, died on April 12 in Milton, MA, following a brief illness. He was 83.

Dr. Emery received his doctorate in geology from the University of Illinois in 1941 and spent 16 years as a professor at the University of California before joining the marine geology group at WHOI in 1962. He was a senior scientist at WHOI from 1963-75, the acting dean of the joint graduate program in 1968, and the Henry Bryant Bigelow Oceanographer from 1975-79. In 1979 Dr. Emery retired as scientist emeritus. During his years at WHOI, he embarked on an extensive survey of the continental margins of the Atlantic ocean, a project finally completed in 1973, with the help of WHOI's Atlantis II, the first academic research vessel equipped with a seagoing computer lab.

Dr. Emery, who was born in Saskatchewan, Canada, was author or co-author of about 360 scientific publications in marine geology and related fields, including 15 books such as Geology of the Atlantic Ocean, The Morphology of the Rocky Members of the Solar System and A Coastal Pond Studied by Oceanographic Methods. He was the recipient of many national and international awards and honors, including the Shepard Prize for Marine Geology (1969), the Prince Albert de Monaco Medal from France (1971), the AAAS-Rosenstiel Award in Oceanographic Science (1975) and the Maurice Ewing Award from the American Geophysical Union (1985). He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1971 and the Royal Swedish Academy of Science in 1977.

He is survived by two daughters, Barbara Wish of Randolph, MA, and Charlet Shave of North Falmouth, MA; two brothers, Almon C. Emery of Memphis, TN, and Harold B. Emery of Arvada, CO and Norman, OK, and a granddaughter. His wife of 42 years, Caroline (Kay) Alexander Emery, died in 1983.

A memorial service will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to the K.O. Emery Scholarship Fund, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Fenno House MS#40, Woods Hole, MA 02543.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 6, 1998.

Topics: Obituaries

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