UNH Nobel

Larry Mayer, director of the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping at the University of New Hampshire, will become a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

DURHAM — The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has elected the director of UNH’s Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping as a foreign member.

Larry Mayer will be one of 175 foreign members of the academy, which awards the Nobel Prizes in physics and chemistry, the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, the Crafoord Prize and the Sjoberg Prize.

The lifetime appointment, beginning in early 2019, recognizes successful achievements in research or services to science. Mayer will serve within the academy’s class for geosciences.

Mayer said Thursday afternoon the news came as a shock.

“It’s just wonderful, but totally surprising,” Mayer said. “We just go about doing the best we can every day and never expect anything like this.”

Mayer has spent over 70 months at sea over the course of the last 40 years and has been chief or co-chief scientist of numerous expeditions including two legs of the Ocean Drilling Program and seven cruises on the USCG Icebreaker Healy, mapping unexplored regions of the Arctic seafloor.

Mayer graduated with an Honors degree in geology from the University of Rhode Island in 1973 and earned a Ph.D. from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in Marine Geophysics in 1979.

In 1982, Mayer became an assistant professor in the Department of Oceanography at Dalhousie University and in 1991 he moved to the University of New Brunswick to become a research chair in ocean mapping.

In 2000, Mayer became the founding director of the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping at UNH and is the co-director of the NOAA/UNH Joint Hydrographic Center.

Mayer was elected as a fellow of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering in early 2018.

UNH’s Senior Vice Provost for Research Jan Nisbet says being named to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences is a justly deserved honor for Mayer.

“His scholarship has greatly increased our understanding of the world’s oceans, and his mentorship of students from around the globe has extended this knowledge and created a worldwide network of bathymetry scholars and practitioners,” Nisbet said in a statement.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences was founded in 1739 to promote the sciences. It is an independent, nongovernmental organization headquartered in Stockholm.