Staff Spotlight: Ed Baker

Principal Research Scientist

Ed on cruise to AntarcticaEd has worked in JISAO since retiring from NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) in 2013 after working there for 38 years. His primary research interests are the global pattern of vent field distribution along ridges and island arcs, and the creation and thermal evolution of vent fields created by seafloor eruptions. You can see more details about this work in the Spotlight from May 2014. He enjoys working at JISAO for several reasons. After 38 years of full time work, including managing people and budgets, he now works only half time writing papers on interesting topics and occasionally going to sea. “This is what real science should be!” he says. Also, he enjoys the weekly socials, though with his schedule he often misses them. The most challenging aspect is actually working only half time. Keeping up with paper writing and data analysis often expands his ideal working schedule.

His favorite project since joining JISAO has been the exploration of the Mariana back-arc on the “Google ship,” the RV Falkor (pictured below, Ed monitoring a CTD tow onboard the Falcor). That ship is funded by the Schmidt Ocean Institute, founded by the chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, and his wife. Falkor time is available free to any research group in the world, and is awarded every year by a competitive proposal process, similar to NSF. Ed reports that the crew is heavily multi-national and one of best he’s ever sailed with. And he is not saying that just because of the free wine and beer provided with the outstanding meals.

Ed on RV FalcorAlthough he has traveled to all seven continents (one of the advantages of being an oceanographer) he still has some bucket list places to visit. The most realistic one is a rafting trip through Glen Canyon on the Colorado River. While waiting to accomplish that, he and his wife spend a lot of time on the beach—a salt water beach—on the west side of Vashon Island, getting away from the clamor of Capitol Hill.