In Memory Of

by John Delaney


Spiral, by John Delaney

Jack Dymond was Professor of Oceanography at Oregon State University for 34 years before his untimely death in 2003. He died doing what he loved best—fly-fishing on the Rogue River. He was one of my closest friends.

Jack loved science and he loved art - almost as much as he loved fishing. His wife, Jan, is an accomplished artist. For Jack there was no boundary between art and science, and he celebrated the human spirit in myriad ways. In thinking about how to configure the web site for this expedition, I knew that if I could ask Jack what he thought about a Poetry Page on a web site for a scientific research cruise, he would have grinned and said, in his quiet way, "Of course! Do it – I’ll help.”

In 1983 Jack Dymond was part of the team that discovered an intensely active hydrothermal vent field, the Endeavour Hydrothermal System on the Juan de Fuca Ridge. We dove on it for the first time one year later, in 1984, using the research submersible ALVIN. Jack was one the principal scientific contributors to the proposal submitted to the National Science Foundation that funded those first dives in this vent system. In 1977, Jack had been a key player in the discovery of the world’s first submarine hydrothermal systems near the Galapagos Islands.

Jack’s death in 2003 was a painful loss for many of us in the scientific community. He was an incredibly special human being who lived his life to the fullest and was completely honest about who he was. Over the years of our friendship, I found myself turning often to him for advice or simply for lively discussions about philosophy, art, science, human nature, the environment. We talked endlessly about how to develop the RIDGE Initiative – a focused NSF Program devoted to interdisciplinary research into the behavior of the Global Mid-Ocean Ridge Spreading Center network. He always exhibited a quiet, vibrant intellect and a delightful sense of humor. Jack had immense energy and vision, yet was one of the gentlest human beings I have ever met. He was a deeply treasured friend.

A few years ago, I wrote a poem dedicated to Jack, which is posted above. Bob Collier, Oregon State University, was also a close colleague of Jack's, and has contributed a short poem here authored by Jack himself.