The Prince Albert I Medal

Background to the Award for Excellence in the Physical Sciences of the Oceans

Prince Albert IThe International Association for the Physical Sciences of the Oceans (IAPSO) has a long and distinguished history, starting in 1919, the year when the Association was established thanks to the vision and passion for the oceans of His Most Serene Highness Prince Albert I of Monaco. On 28 July 1919, in fact, the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) was founded in Brussels, Belgium. At that meeting, a section for Physical Oceanography was formed with Prince Albert I as its first President. Since then, the Physical Oceanography section of IUGG has evolved, becoming first the Association for Physical Oceanography in 1929; the International Association of Physical Oceanography in 1945; and finally IAPSO in 1967.

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In September 2000, Paola Malanotte-Rizzoli, then the IAPSO President, wrote to HMSH Prince Rainier III of Monaco proposing the establishment of an award named for Prince Albert I to recognize his pioneering and extraordinary contributions to, and support of, Physical Oceanography. Prince Rainier III's answer was enthusiastic; he offered to present a most eminent scientist with the "Medal for Excellence in the Physical Sciences of the Oceans - IAPSO - Foundation Rainier III", engraved with this citation on one side and with the name of the laureate on the other. An official protocol was established and ratified by the Prince in February 2001. The Medal is awarded to a scientist who has made outstanding contributions to the enhancement and advancement of the physical and/or chemical sciences of the oceans. It is offered at every IAPSO General Assembly, every other year, to a most prominent scientist chosen by a specially appointed IAPSO Award Committee.