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Stephen A Thorpe

Stephen A Thorpe
Stephen A Thorpe

The 2000 Fridtjof Nansen Medal is awarded to Stephen A Thorpe in recognition of his fundamental experimental and theoretical contributions to the dynamics and energetics of microprocesses, mixing and internal waves in the ocean.

Stephen A Thorpe’s fundamental studies of the fluid mechanics of oceanic processes started with his PhD work at the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge. After several years of research on various aspects of the dynamics and energetics of stratified flows, at the Institute of Ocean Sciences, Wormley, Thorpe was appointed to a chair in oceanography at the University of Southampton.

His work is widely referred to in the literature in physical oceanography and related disciplines, and has inspired both contemporaries and the following generation of scientists. His legacy to science includes fundamental experimental and theoretical contributions in internal waves, processes at the ocean margins, mixing and role of bubbles in air-sea interactions. His explanation of the Loch Ness monster “Nessy” as an internal bore will be recalled by many and the Thorpe length is used often in the parameterisation of mixing in stratified flows.