2002 DONALD FORSYTH
Dr. Donald Forsyth is one of the world's outstanding marine geophysicists. With over 90 refereed publications, Dr. Forsyth's research has had a broad impact on the marine geosciences, in areas ranging from oceanic crustal structure to mantle dynamics and in studies that combine both theoretical and observational methods. In the 1970s, he made the first detailed analysis of upper mantle velocity structure as a function of the cooling and thickening of the oceanic lithosphere and, in a separate study, was responsible for the first quantitative analysis of plate tectonic driving forces. In the 1980s, Forsyth pioneered early work on modeling the geodynamics of mantle flow and melting beneath mid ocean ridges, and began to develop models to explain the variation in ridge crest topography with spreading rate. He invented a new type of gravity anomaly, the mantle Bouguer anomaly, which has been widely used to map crustal thickness variations in the oceans. Dr. Forsyth was one of the founding members of the RIDGE program, and in the 1990s led the highly successful MELT experiment, the largest marine seismic experiment ever attempted. Aimed at using seismic and electromagnetic techniques to constrain mantle flow and melting processes beneath the East Pacific Rise, this experiment pioneered the use of broadband seismic techniques in the oceans. Most recently, Forsyth is spearheading the development of the Oceanic Mantle Dynamics Initiative, a decade-long program that intends to expand the use of broadband seismic techniques to investigate a variety of additional problems in ocean mantle dynamics.
Dr. Forsyth is known as an excellent educator, having taught and mentored a number of outstanding students. He has been an outstanding colleague to a large number of scientific collaborators, is a model of integrity, and has been unselfish in the service that he has given to the scientific and university communities.