IRIS Announces Its New President, Dr. Robert S. Detrick

IRIS announces the appointment of  Dr. Robert S. Detrick as President effective April 28, 2014. Detrick brings more than 30 years of relevant experience to his new role. He replaces the retiring Dr. David Simpson who has served as President since July 1991.

In announcing this appointment, Professor Anne Meltzer, chair of the IRIS Board, said “Bob Detrick’s demonstrated success in academia, research, and government bring to IRIS the leadership, vision, and management experience required to successfully implement our NSF awards and to advance the research and educational goals of the seismological community.”

A marine geophysicist, Detrick has extensive experience in marine science, instrumentation and technology. Detrick is currently serving as Assistant Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) and acting NOAA Chief Scientist. Prior to joining NOAA, Detrick was Director of the National Science Foundation’s Division of Earth Sciences. He joined NSF in 2008 following more than 20 years at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), where he was a Senior Scientist, Department Chair and Vice President for Marine Facilities and Operations.

Detrick’s research focused on marine geophysics and seismology. He lists more than 100 scientific publications, including 16 papers in Science and Nature, on the seismic structure of mid-ocean ridges and oceanic crust; the size, depth, and properties of ridge crest magma chambers; and the nature of mantle flow beneath mid-ocean ridges and relationship to ridge segmentation and axial topography.  His papers have been cited in the peer-reviewed literature more than 5700 times.  A Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, Detrick received the A. G. Huntsman Medal in 1996 which honors “marine scientists who have had and continue to have a significant influence on the course of marine scientific thought.”

He has participated in more than 30 major oceanographic cruises, 18 as Chief Scientist or Co-chief Scientist. He was Co-principal Investigator for WHOI's ocean bottom seismic instrumentation laboratory which builds and operates ocean bottom seismometers for the U.S. National Ocean Bottom Seismic Instrumentation Pool. 

Detrick has served on and chaired committees and panels for various international and national organizations including the RIDGE Steering Committee (Chair from 1992-1995), the Joint Oceanographic Institutions for Deep Earth Sampling (JOIDES) Executive Committee of the Ocean Drilling Program (Chair from 1996-1998) and the NSF Geosciences Advisory Committee (Chair 2004-2005). He was a member of the Board of Governors of Joint Oceanographic Institutions (JOI) (1995-2007) and chaired the JOI Board from 2002-2004. He is a Past President of AGU's Tectonophysics Section and was chair of the International Continental Drilling Program Assembly of Governors.  He is currently co-chair of the National Ocean Council’s Subcommittee on Ocean Science and Technology and NOAA’s principal on the interagency Subcommittee on Global Change Research of the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

Detrick holds a bachelor's degree in geology and physics from Lehigh University (1971), a master’s degree from the University of California, San Diego in marine geology (1974), and a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology/WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography (1978).