2023 Hutchinson Award Recipient

John O. Dabiri

The Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) presents the G. Evelyn Hutchinson Award each year to a scientist who has made considerable contributions to knowledge in limnology or oceanography, and whose future work promises a continued legacy of scientific excellence. The 2023 Hutchinson Award will be presented to Dr. John O. Dabiri for stretching the boundaries of aquatic science by demonstrating that the fluid dynamic lessons learned from planktonic organisms have broad applications, from undersea vehicles to wind turbines. The award will be presented to Dr. Dabiri at the 2023 Aquatic Sciences Meeting in Palma, Spain in June 2023.

Dr. John O. Dabiri is the Centennial Chair Professor at the California Institute of Technology’s Graduate Aerospace Laboratories (GALCIT) and Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Dabiri’s work combines advanced mathematics, engineering, modeling, and biological experimentation to reveal how marine organisms navigate life in fluid environments. His work has also greatly illuminated how the movement of marine organisms impacts the fluid environment around them, such as facilitating the transfer of material across density gradients through mixing. Dr. Dabiri is a pioneer of “bio-inspired engineering,” the concept of looking to the natural world to drive innovations and solve problems in engineering. For example, his research on biological vortex interactions in the sea have led to major advances in the design of wind turbines. His body of research has been described as “bold” and “challenging long-standing paradigms in oceanography” by colleagues in the field.

Dr. Dabiri’s research and seminal contributions have been recognized numerous times with awards and leadership appointments, including a MacArthur Fellowship, the Ebony Magazine “Power 100” Most Influential Black Americans, and the Alan T. Waterman Award recognizing an outstanding young researcher in science or engineering by the United States National Science Foundation. Most recently, Dr. Dabiri was appointed to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), a select group of 30 experts outside of the federal government who advise the President of the United States on science, technology, innovation, and education issues. In this role, Dr. Dabiri represents the interests and viewpoints of the science and engineering community on vital policy matters. In addition to his research and policy work, Dr. Dabiri has mentored and inspired many students and is dedicated to advancing equity in science.

“Dr. Dabiri’s career has already had a profound impact on the fields of oceanography and engineering, and, in true spirit of the G. Evelyn Hutchinson Award, shows great promise of continuing to push the boundaries of our science forward,” says Dr. Patricia Glibert, ASLO President. “We are greatly inspired by Dr. Dabiri’s scientific vision as well as his dedicated pursuit of equity and justice in STEM.”


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