Ed Baker

Principal Research Scientist

Ed BakerHaving worked at the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) for 38 years, Ed joined JISAO in the summer of 2013. Official retirement did not appeal to him yet, so he decided to stay on and work part-time, traveling between his offices at PMEL and JISAO. For the past 30 years, he has been studying hydrothermal vents in the deep sea, trying to understand how they operate and figuring out what controls their global distribution.

Ever since the fifth grade, Ed knew that he wanted to be a scientist. Born and raised in Chicago, he took a chance on studying ocean processes without actually having seen the ocean. He spent his undergrad years at the University of Notre Dame, where his path began in the field of nuclear physics. When things didn’t work out, he nearly quit altogether. Luckily, one of his college professors convinced him to keep with it, and he switched his focus to geology.  As a part of his major, he did research at a field camp out in Montana, where he laid eyes on the mountains for the first time. However, they weren’t particularly enthralling to him. Towards the end of his undergraduate career, he decided that rather than attempting to infer the process of rock formation, why not study the actual process itself? He cites Jacques Ed on shipCousteau to be one of his major influences in his move to studying underwater processes.

From there on, he received a fellowship at the University of Washington, and attended the UW from 1967-1973. He took a trip down to Ocean Shores once he moved to Seattle, and got his first look at salt water. Two years later, he was hired at PMEL, and has been there ever since. He says he looks forward to coming to work each day, so he figures he chose the right path.

Ed has visited every continent, and would say that his favorite trip was traveling to Africa and experiencing the origins of our ancestors. Besides traveling, he also enjoys spending time with his grandchildren, working on house renovations, and simply taking time to appreciate Seattle and Vashon Island, where his homes are located. 

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