Emmanuel Boss

Emmanuel Boss, Professor, University of Maine, Orono, ME, USA

Emmanuel-BossI wanted to be an oceanographer since I was 15, engaging in many water sports. I chose to study mathematics and physics for BSc (Hebrew U.) to get a good basic background. I did a MSc (Hebrew U.) and PhD (UW) in physical oceanography focusing on GFD while dabbling in small scales turbulence-plankton interaction with my wife, oceanographer Lee Karp-Boss. Thanks to the Ocean Optics summer class, I ‘saw the light’ and subsequently switched to study marine optics in my postdocs (UW &; OSU) and my following career. Optics involves complicated math and physics and application ranging from biology to sedimentology. I am a ‘social’ scientist, enjoying interactions with my colleagues at least as much as the problem we address. I strongly believe that the ‘job’ of a scientist should be satisfying and fun. The problems are hard enough and we don’t have to add a layer of social pressure to make it harder. I am also a strong believer in hands-on education. I believe we learn better from doing than from only hearing. Those of us who ‘survived’ the auditory education system need not assume it fits all student profiles (and think of how many creative people we lost). I had my first son born while my wife and I were graduate students (we have three boys). Family and science should not be in conflict (though I often told my boys that I am sorry for them that I ‘love’ my job so much). While we put a lot of energy into our job at the expense of those around us, there are many benefits for them as well (like visiting really cool places, or discovering other cultures while on sabbatical). In short, I feel very fortunate to have a job I love, working with friends from whom I learn every day.