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International Consortium of Ocean Observing Laboratories (I-COOL)

Scientific user

71 Dudley Road,
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8525

Organization's Description:

The International Consortium of Ocean Observing Laboratories (I-COOL) is dedicated to the collaborative exploration of the ocean in order to improve our understanding of our planet, to build ocean technologies for next century and to excite the next generation of ocean scientists and engineers. I-COOL believes that collaboration between friends spanning the international community provides a powerful tool for groups to leverage and enable each others efforts.

I-COOL was formed over a dinner with good wine one evening in Paris with scientists from Rutgers, Dalhousie University and California Polytechnic State University. The I-COOL group has now grown to encompass laboratories spanning the United States (Rutgers, California Polytechnic State University, Mote Marine Lab, University of Maryland, University of California at Santa Barbara), Canada (Dalhousie University, University of Victoria), Australia (James Cook University, University of Western Australia), Norway (Nansen Center, University of Bergen, University of Trondheim), France (Laboratoire d’Oceanographie de Villefranche), Spain (Puertos del Estados, Qualitas Remos), Germany (Leibniz-Institute for Baltic Sea Research), United Kingdom (Proudman Labs, National Oceanography Centre), and Ireland (National University of Ireland)

Mission Flight Across the Atlantic

The Challenge

Several years ago, Rutgers University professors Scott Glenn, Oscar Schofield and Josh Kohut attended a workshop in Europe. They were there as part of an effort to foster international oceanographic collaborations between developing European nationals and the United States. Also in attendance was Dr. Richard Spinrad, the Assistant Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). One evening, he pulled Drs. Glenn, Schofield and Kohut aside to challenge them with what he described as a mission of national importance.

At the time, scientists at Rutgers University had pioneered the use of underwater Slocum Gliders to autonomously sample the ocean. Engineers at Rutgers had successfully deployed gliders several dozen times in places all over the world, including in the Sargasso and Mediterranean Seas and off the coasts of Florida, Hawaii and New Jersey. Glider missions often lasted over a month and covered distances of 500 km or more. But Dr. Spinrad had a grander challenge.

“For the good of your country, you need to fly a glider across the Atlantic.”

It is often said that public interest and literacy has fallen in recent years. In order for the U.S. to stay competitive in the emerging global marketplace, it is essential that today’s students remain motivated and learn the essential skills that will help them compete with their peers across the globe. The launch of Sputnik energized an entire generation of scientists, engineers and teachers. We need a new Sputnik to excite the youth of today and energize a new generation of students in the science and technology fields.

For this reason, Dr. Spinrad told us we needed to bring everyone along with us.

When you go on an adventurous mission, if you succeed, everyone will have wanted to follow along with you. And if by chance you happen to fail, those who follow along will understand more fully the challenge at hand.

Science is not about the pretty result at the end, rather, it’s about the arduous process researchers often have to take to get there. Our task is to help the public understand the true nature of science, and the best way to do that is to let them follow on a voyage of adventure.

Crossing the Atlantic with an autonomous robot would be Oceanography’s new Sputnik. And the Internet will allow anyone and everyone to swim with the glider as it makes its way across.

That’s what this mission and this site are all about.

Phone: 732 932 6555
Fax: 732 932 8578