NEWS | Oct. 17, 2011

Dr. Jeffrey Book Receives Presidential Award for Career Achievements

By Donna McKinney

Dr. Jeffrey Book in NRL's Oceanography Division has been awarded the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on scientists and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers, the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

As an honoree, Dr. Book traveled to Washington, D.C., in October to attend a recognition ceremony led by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Of the 94 awardees, Dr. Book was the sole Department of the Navy recipient.

In the Physical Oceanographic Processes Section at Stennis Space Center, Miss., Dr. Book serves as principal investigator for a new NRL project, oceanographic lead for two ongoing NRL projects, and co-investigator on a fourth project.

As principal investigator for the NRL project Dynamics of the Adriatic in Real Time (DART), Dr. Book's research has led to scientists' improved understanding of ocean circulation in shallow, topographically complex areas and the ability to predict the environment there. His ideas for this study were the catalyst for the formation of an international scientific partnership and program (also called DART) on Adriatic and operational oceanography research together with the NATO Undersea Research Centre (NURC) and 23 other institutions.

Together with NURC and other NRL scientists, Dr. Book worked on the development of new oceanographic instrumentation for ocean monitoring, specifically SEPTR, the shallow-water environmental profiler in trawl-safe real-time configuration, that has now successfully been used to collect more than 600 profiles of oceanic data for scientific use. He also initiated the establishment of an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) glider program within the Oceanography Division, , and building upon the results of the DART project, has formed a new NRL applied research project, AUV Data Analysis for Predictability in Time-Evolving Regimes, to innovatively use AUV and SEPTR data together to improve numerical environmental predictions.

Dr. Book is also the oceanographic lead on a groundbreaking research project that uses seismic oceanography to provide high-resolution measurements of ocean temperature layers for studying ocean mixing. By using measurements of acoustic reflectivity to trace oceanic temperature contrasts, the outcome is quantitative measurements of fine-scale features throughout the water column at lateral resolutions several orders of magnitude higher than with traditional methods.

Dr. Book's visionary research may lead to a revolutionary high-resolution oceanographic measurement technique, said Dr. Ruth Preller, superintendent of the Oceanography Division.

As co-investigator for the NRL project Environmental Optimization of Sea-Bed Energy Harvesting for Navy Devices, Dr. Book is working to use renewable energy to power underwater oceanographic equipment using benthic microbial fuel cells, which make use of the oxygen difference across the ocean sediment/water interface and biochemical energy derived from organic material in the sediment. Dr. Book's engagement with the scientific community spans the globe, including collaborations with 90 scientists at more than 40 institutions. He has held the title of chair and co-chair at international workshops and professional society conferences and is an invited auxiliary member of an International Council for Science working group on the climatic importance of the greater Agulhas System. Many of these collaborations have led to Dr. Book authoring or co-authoring 32 peer-reviewed journal articles and 96 additional publications. He served as a guest editor of a special issue of the Journal of Marine Systems on the challenges of monitoring and predicting coastal processes. He is also a co-inventor of a microbial fuel cell power system, presently awaiting patent.

In addition, Dr. Book is recognized for actively helping assure America's preeminence in science and engineering through imparting his enthusiasm to junior scientists. He has served as a mentor and advisor to a National Research Council Post-doctoral scholar, two Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program interns and two Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program students.

I am very honored to receive this award. Many scientists at NRL and around the world have been very gracious to me as a young scientist with their time and experience and I am deeply appreciative of the support and guidance that they have given me.

Dr. Book received a bachelor's degree in physics from University of Missouri-Rolla and a master's degree (1998) and a Ph.D. (2007) from the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography. He has worked as an oceanographer at NRL since 1999.