URI professor deep into Gulf oil-spill cleanup efforts

Malcolm Spaulding, a professor of ocean engineering, has been modeling oil spills, their impacts and containment since the 1970s. More

To continue reading this article, please do one of the following.



Technology Monthly

URI professor deep into Gulf oil-spill cleanup efforts

PHOTO COURTESY URI
URI PROFESSOR Malcolm L. Spaulding, left, and Applied Science Associates CEO Eoin Howlett show an illustration of modeling tool CoastMap.
Posted 5/31/10

Up close, the Gulf oil spill is horrific, but difficult to grasp. What does it mean to have millions of gallons of crude oil spreading through the water?

Malcolm L. Spaulding, a professor of ocean engineering at the University of Rhode Island, has been modeling oil spills, their impacts and containment since the 1970s. The company he co-founded in 1979, Applied Science Associates, is an international leader in this field.

PBN: You’ve been modeling oil spills for a long time. How did that start?

SPAULDING: We got a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy in the early 1970s to look at the efficacy of using dispersants to treat spills. I worked on two big pieces of that project: to develop an oil spill model, and to develop a tool to assess the impact of oil spills on commercial fisheries. … Those technologies have been commercialized [through Applied Science Associates] and are very widely used now.

PBN: Some of those tools are being used to model the Gulf oil spill?

SPAULDING: The model is being used to assist in figuring out where to go to do sampling.

Our spill models have been used in every major oil spill for the last 25 years, so this represents another case example. … [But] the way the system is structured now is that the company is under directions from the [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] to not comment to the press beyond saying that they’re working on this.

PBN: How much have these tools improved over time?

SPAULDING: The evolution of them actually followed quite closely the evolution of computing systems. … What we’ve seen is a dramatic increase in computing capacity and access to data via the Internet. So we’re bringing in enormous amounts of information, and the models have gotten much, much more complex as a result.

Next Page
Calendar
PBN Hosted
Events

Two Great Programs...One Great Event. PBN's Annual Celebration of Growth and Innovation is now underway. 2014 applications are now available. Deadline August 1st.
  • 40 Under Forty
    We're almost sold out. The 10th Anniversary of 40 Under Forty, and PBN is planni ...
  • Healthiest Employers
    See who the Healthiest Employers in RI are! And save the date - August 14th - at ...
Advertisement
Purchase Data
Book of Lists
Lists
Book of Lists cover
PBN's annual Book of Lists has been an essential resource for the local business community for almost 30 years. The Book of Lists features a wealth of company rankings from a variety of fields and industries, including banking, health care, real estate, law, hospitality, education, not-for-profits, technology and many more.
Data icons
Data can be purchased as single lists, in either Excel or PDF format; the entire database of the published book, in Excel format; or a printed copy of the Book of Lists.
  • Purchase an e-File of a single list
  •  
  • Purchase an e-File of the entire Book of Lists database
  •  
  • Purchase a printed copy of the Book of Lists
  •  
    National
    Local
    Latest News
    Advertisement