It is a joy to introduce to you Dr. Laurent Bopp, the recipient of the 2016 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Ocean Sciences Voyager Award. Laurent is an ocean scientist whose curiosity, drive, and wide-ranging interests have led to a diverse range of well-cited publications, e.g., with Laurent being named one of Thompson-Reuters Most Highly Cited researchers in 2015. A prominent modeler of the Earth system, Laurent has published extensively on the carbon cycle, marine productivity, iron, nitrous oxide, deoxygenation, ocean acidification, and associated feedbacks on climate. He has provided first answers to key questions, e.g., how will multiple global stressors affect ocean productivity, fisheries, and ocean carbon and oxygen.
But research is just part of his story. Motivated to teach from a young age, as an undergraduate he attended the school renowned for producing the best French university professors, the Ecole Normale Superior. On the side, he acquired the French certificate to become a university professor, doing so before entering graduate school, a rare feat. Later, with his doctorate in hand, Laurent jumped immediately into teaching in parallel to his research. He currently teaches marine biogeochemistry and climate science to graduate students at three French universities, while at three others, he gives preparatory courses for future professors. And Laurent’s students love him. Laurent’s dozens of graduate students and postdocs have been attracted to his research mostly through his excellence in teaching. And his teaching goes well beyond the university. Besides writing many pieces for the wider public in books and popular science magazines, Laurent has authored two books on the ocean, both for children.
Only in mid-career, Laurent Bopp is a highly influential ocean biogeochemist, research leader, and educator. Let us join in congratulating him as the recipient of the Voyager award.
—James Orr, Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat de l’Environnement, France
Thank you, James, for this laudatory citation—a large part of my start in this research area, I owe it to the confidence that you and Patrick Monfray, my Ph.D. supervisor, showed me when I arrived at Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat de l’Environnement (LSCE) years ago for a master’s research project!
I thank AGU and the Ocean Sciences section for this award. I am deeply honored, but this award also recognizes colleagues, students, and postdocs with whom I have worked over many years.
A scientific career is a human adventure, made of encounters that shape each of our paths. I had the great chance early on to meet Olivier Aumont and Corinne Le Quéré. Both have inspired me throughout my career, and it is a great pleasure to continue working with them. I also thank my close colleagues at LSCE and at Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace, Christian Ethé, Marion Gehlen, James Orr, Marina Lévy, to name a few, with whom I have collaborated in such a constructive way for so many years.
The fruitful interactions with doctoral and postdoctoral students represent an indispensable source of motivation for my research. It is these day-to-day discussions that allow me to move forward and remain passionate about science. It’s wonderful to see many of them, Birgit Schneider, Alessandro Tagliabue, Italo Massotti, Laure Resplandy, becoming professors at leading universities around the world.
An essential part of my job is to convey our science to junior scientists, but also to the general public and especiallly young people. The Surface Ocean–Lower Atmosphere Study (SOLAS) and Integrated Marine Biosphere Research (IMBER) summer schools have been key moments for this transmission of knowledge. The numerous school visits to talk with children about the ocean and climate are also magical moments.
Most importantly, this would have been impossible without the constant support of my wife Annette and my four children.
—Laurent Bopp, Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace, France
Correction, 9 November 2016: This article has been updated to reflect that SOLAS stands for Surface Ocean–Lower Atmosphere Study.