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50 Years of Ocean Discovery: National Science Foundation 1950—2000
the need to play "catch up" with the larger division (MPE), where several major facilities projects had already been launched. It was also based on the conviction that biologists were going to need to do "their own thing" with respect to marine science facilities, including ships. BMS had declined, in the late 1950s, to participate with MPE in planning for a major new oceanographic ship—the Atlantis II for Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). Catching the groundswell of the post-Sputnik push in oceanography and further motivated by the prospect of IIOE, BMS Specialized Facilities Program was soon "specializing" in ship construction and conversion.
IIOE was the answer to the "what-next" question following IGY. It was planned and managed by NSF programs directly involved in oceanographic support. The Earth Sciences Program had added John Lyman as associate program director for oceanography in the late 1950s and Dick Bader as an assistant program director by mid-1961. In addition to the new facilities program, BMS brought in marine biologist Dixy Lee Ray as a special consultant to the division director of BMS, John Wilson. Reorganizations, expansion, and program additions were occurring throughout the Foundation. The BMS Facilities Program began under the direction of Louis Levin, then deputy division director, who subsequently moved to head the newly established Office of Institutional Programs in May 1961. Harve Carlson, returning from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in London moved into Levin's position only to move up in November 1961 to become assistant director of BMS when John Wilson became deputy director to Alan Waterman. Jack Spencer was recruited to head the facilities program. In May 1961 an independent Office of Antarctic Programs (OAP) was separated from the director's office and became involved in oceanography.
Probably the first grant for IIOE was awarded in fiscal year 1961 to NASCO to perform certain aspects of external coordination. Internally, the BMS independence about ships for biologists required that active coordination between MPE and BMS be developed at the outset of planning for IIOE. In September 1961, a first meeting regarding ships for HOE was attended by John Wilson, Carlson, Lyman, and Ray. By then Lyman and Ray had already associated long enough to have developed their infamous coordinating style from which many quotable quotes emerged. It was fortuitous that Dick Bader arrived when he did and picked up the role of facilities coordinator. In October 1961, he began action to establish a facilities panel for ES Oceanography. It became a memorable road show in 1962, as it undertook a series of site visits to virtually all academic institutions then engaged in ocean-related programs. The purpose was to assess the quality of staff, research, and training activities, and above all the extent and nature of equipment and facilities available for these programs.
In short order, a specialized BMS Facilities Program had three ships underway: construction of the Eastward at Duke University Marine Lab to be a research and training ship for biologists from any institution; conversion of the motor sailer Te Vega at Stanford's Hopkins Marine Station, for research and training and use as an adjunct vessel for the IIOE; and consideration of the former presidential yacht Williamsburg for the major biological ship for Indian Ocean cruises. The objective had been "no new ships solely for IIOE," but attempts to find a suitable leased ship for the biologists had failed. The Williamsburg stirred controversy from all sides. I first met Dick Bader at a meeting about the Williamsburg chaired by Dixy. He and I rose from opposite sides of the table and questioned the same well-advertised problems about this old vessel. Henceforth, we worked together on planning for the ship's conversion, which led to my participation as a BMS representative on Bader's facilities panel and to the transfer of funds back and forth between the BMS and ES programs for joint support of ships and other items. BMS built one more significant ship, the Alpha Helix , which was used for expeditionary field biology and medical research sometimes unrelated to the marine environment, but for most of the 1960s ships provided to academic institutions were conversions and jointly funded by BMS and MPE.
The Atlantis II, of course, was really a ship from the late 1950s; WHOI had the initial grant in hand in December 1959, but IIOE probably smoothed the way for significant cost overruns and problems along the way. This was the first ship specifically designed for research at sea within the category now known as the academic fleet. Upon completion and commissioning in 1963 the Atlantis II headed directly for the Indian Ocean. And ultimately Anton Brunn (aka Williamsburg ) and Te Vega followed.
By 1965, Earth and Atmospheric Science. Sections were split off from MPE and in combination with Office of Antarctic Programs formed a new Division of Environmental Sciences (DES). But informal coordination between DES and BMS was still the basis for a semblance of unity for ocean science in NSF. In 1966 following Dick Bader's departure, I moved into an associate program director position in Earth Sciences. Taking a page from Dick' s book, my first attempt was to establish a single NSF Advisory Panel for Ship Operations, to create formal procedures for block funding for ships and guidelines for evaluating and managing this very essential support for oceanography. The panel and annual review process were in place by the time the Oceanography Program in DES had evolved into a section (1967) and BMS had finally expanded its organization with the establishment of a Biological Oceanography Program in a newly created Environmental and Systematic Biology Section (1968). Ed Chin was the first program director and Jean DeBell was associate program director; I was now program director for an Oceanographic Facilities Program, DES.
A closing footnote on BMS Specialized Facilities: in the eight years that I was associated with the program, awards totaling $13.9 million were made for oceanographic