The Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS) was delighted to receive a generous pledge of $5 million from Emeritus Professor Peter H. Stone and Professor Paola Malanotte Stone (Rizzoli) to endow a full professorship — the department's first new professorship to be endowed in many years. Thanks to this wonderful commitment, EAPS will be able to make an appointment that will greatly enhance the department's research programs and ability to train future generations of students.
The professorship will be in one of the following disciplines: atmospheric sciences, physical oceanography, climate sciences, or planetary sciences. Until Rizzoli's retirement, the chair holder will be known as the "Peter H. Stone Professor in Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences” and thereafter as the "Peter H. Stone and Paola Malanotte Stone Professor.” A search committee to begin the process of finding candidates to be considered for this prestigious named chair will be convened by department head Rob van der Hilst.
"We are truly honored to receive this generous commitment from Peter and Paola, our dear friends, who have been inspirational leaders and faculty members in our department and in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program for so many years. In addition to strengthening our programs, their gift will allow us the privilege of having their names forever associated with our department," said Van der Hilst in his announcement to the EAPS community.
Stone came to MIT as a visiting professor in 1972 and joined the meteorology faculty in 1974, serving as head of Course 19 (Meteorology and Physcial Oceanography) from 1981 to 1983 — that is, just before the merger of with Course 12 (then known as Earth and Planetary Sciences). Rizzoli joined MIT as assistant professor of oceanography in 1981 and became professor of physical oceanography in 1992. She also served as the director of the MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography and Ocean Engineering from 1997 to 2009.
A special celebratory event will be announced soon, and we look forward to expressing our deep gratitude to Stone and Rizzoli in person and celebrating their lifelong dedication and contributions to science and to EAPS and the broader MIT community.