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THE 1970S TO THE 1990S1

Physical Chemistry and Aquatic Chemistry: Theory and Experimentation

The text, Aquatic Chemistry by Werner Stumm and James J. Morgan (1970), which was aimed at the broader arena of the chemistry of all waters, brought a modern and fundamental underpinning of physical chemistry to aquatic chemistry, including chemical oceanography and marine geochemistry. This book became a required text for many of my generation and a standard reference. The text has been published in a second and third edition (Stumm and Morgan, 1981, 1995). Other excellent texts of similar aim have followed in the intervening years, but I believe that the first edition of Stumm and Morgan had a powerful positive influence on the field following in the wake of the Sillen (1961) paper.

In the arena of physical chemistry from the 1970s to the present, perhaps no other chemical oceanographer-marine geochemist has made more significant contributions than Frank Millero of the University of Miami. Early evidence of this was his contribution "Seawater as a Multicomponent Electrolyte" (Millero, 1974).

International Decade of Ocean Exploration and Chemical Oceanography-Marine Geochemistry

The International Decade of Ocean Exploration programs in chemical oceanography and marine geochemistry were more than the flagship GEOSECS effort. Several programs were grouped together under the overarching theme of environmental quality, including GEOSECS (Jennings and King, 1980). For example, the Manganese Nodules Program, which became known as MANOP in Phase II, undertook important research to better understand the geochemistry of manganese nodules—much touted in the late 1960s and early 1970s as a valuable mineral resource (Knecht, 1982).

In 1971 through early 1972, IDOE launched a one-year Baseline Data Acquisition Program for a limited survey of the extent of contamination of the marine environment by chemicals of environmental concern. The broad focus was on chemicals entering the environment as a result of human activities mobilizing both naturally occurring chemicals (e.g., trace metals and petroleum), and chemicals synthesized only by modem industrial processes (e.g., chlorinated pesticides and PCBs). A conference workshop of three days was convened in May 1972, under the leadership of Professor Edward Goldberg to assess what had been learned from the Baseline effort. I attended this conference, having contributed some of the data as a result of my ongoing postdoctoral research with Max Blumer, initiated in July 1971. Although all of us at the workshop recognized the limitations of the sparse data sets, these data were all we had. Data for trace metals, chlorinated pesticides and PCBs, and the less biodegradable petroleum hydrocarbons could be interpreted in the broadest sense within the framework of lessons learned about biogeochemical cycles from studies of the fallout radionuclides. In the forward to Radioactivity in the Marine Environment (NAS, 1971b), Dr. Philip Handler, president of the National Academy of Sciences summarized this point:

It is particularly appropriate that this contribution to our understanding of the marine environment be available at a time when man is increasingly concerned with the ways in which his own actions may affect his environment. Though this work is specifically addressed to radioactivity in the marine environment, many of the concepts that pertain to our understanding of this problem can be applied effectively to studies of other wastes discharged into the marine environment, including industrial wastes, municipal sewage, pesticides, nutrients, heavy metals and heat. It is perhaps ironic that of the many substances that man has introduced into his environment over the centuries, he understands best and controls most rigorously the radioactive materials that have been produced only during the past quarter century. We are indeed fortunate that our intense concern for public safety and protection from radioactivity since 1950 has stimulated much basic research that can be applied to other serious environmental problems that we are just beginning to recognize. (p. iii)

It was within that type of framework that Ed Goldberg led the "Baseline Conference" to consensus. The fact that we were meeting at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, the Memorial Day weekend was approaching, and Ed controlled the arrival of the buses to the airport provided one impetus for the participants to reach consensus. The consensus was important because Ed Goldberg and a dedicated secretarial staff labored over the weekend to produce the final version of the workshop report and have it printed (Goldberg, 1972). Then Goldberg delivered the report the following week to the First United Nations Conference on the Environment meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, where the report influenced that conference' s deliberations on environmental quality concerns and the ocean. In recognition of this and many other research and science-policy interactions, Ed Goldberg shared the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement in 1989 for his many contributions to understanding marine environmental quality issues.

The Baseline Surveys (Goldberg, 1972), and also other scientific research and survey data assessed in the very influential Workshop on Critical Problems of the Coastal Zone, under the leadership of Bostwick H. Ketchum, held May 22 to June 3, 1972, in Woods Hole, Massachusetts (funded in part by the National Science Foundation), led to the inescap


See the FOCUS (1998) report for an in-depth review and the FOCUS summary in this volume.

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