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NURP/NIUST Director Awarded Bennett Distinguished Professorship
This story entered on 30th Oct, 2007 05:45:01 AM PST

The University of Southern Mississippi College of Science and Technology has announced that Dr. Vernon Asper, professor in the Department of Marine Science and NOAA’S Undersea Research Program (NURP), National Institute for Undersea Science and Technology (NIUST), Undersea Vehicle Technology Center Director, is the recipient of the T. W. Bennett Jr. Distinguished Professorship in the Sciences award.

The Bennett Distinguished Professorship is awarded every two years to an exceptional professor in the sciences. The awarded professor will receive a total of $40,000 over the course of two years. The funds from the professorship are used to provide research assistance, clerical support, equipment, travel and to sponsor a symposium.

The Bennett Distinguished Professorship not only recognizes the awarded professor’s teaching and research, but also services performed outside of the university. Asper has recently been elected as the chair-elect of University Oceanographic Laboratory System, a nationwide organization that manages all of the large research ships which operate all over the world.

Specializing in ocean research, Asper has been working on a five-year study in the Ross Sea in Antarctica. During the study, he traveled to Antarctica twice each year to perform his research. Asper’s research in the Antarctic is important because “climate changes are emphasized at high latitude, so in the Antarctic, you’ll see bigger changes and you’ll see them sooner than you would anywhere else.”

Asper’s most recent trip was a 16-day cruise on the NOAA ship Ronald H. Brown. The purpose of the cruise was to measure the bathymetry, or depth of the water, in the Hudson Canyon, located east of Atlantic City, N.J., using the NURP/NIUST Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV), Eagle Ray. “The AUV is able to go down to 2,200 meters,” said Asper. All we do is program it, put it in the water and then it goes out and does its work.”

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