00-68
October 5, 2000

Creighton Wirick Named Chair of Brookhaven Lab's
Environmental Sciences Department

 

UPTON, NY - Creighton Wirick, an oceanographer who had joined the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory in 1976, has been named head of the Laboratory's Environmental Sciences (ES) Department, effective September 15.

The ES Department, which has a staff of 80 and an annual budget of about $20 million, succeeds the Laboratory's Department of Applied Science, which has disbanded.

The new department consists of: the Atmospheric Sciences Division, which studies atmospheric pollutants and the effect of aerosols on global climate; the Earth Systems Science Division, which conducts research aimed at understanding the earth's biogeochemical cycles and climate; the Environmental Research and Technology Division, which consolidates scientific efforts to understand and characterize waste containing radionuclides, toxic metals, and chemicals; and the Scientific Information Systems Group, which provides technical support to several of DOE's global change programs.

"The Environmental Research and Technology Division is new," Wirick said. "Its primary mission is to investigate and develop environmental technologies for cleaning up DOE sites. Other new initiatives in the Department include studies of the environmental and health effects of tropospheric aerosols, and a collaboration with the Biology Department to study the genetics of microbes to determine which microbes might be best used for environmental cleanup. Also, we hope to form a partnership with the Laboratory's National Synchrotron Light Source to develop new technologies for environmental cleanup of soils at DOE sites."

"My goal is to encourage interdisciplinary research among scientists and engineers, and to develop an agile, versatile workforce to best meet DOE's needs," Wirick added.

Born in Utah, Wirick earned a B.S. in 1970 and an M.S. in 1972, both in biology from the University of Utah. He earned a Ph.D. in oceanography from the University of Washington in 1981. In 1976, Wirick joined Brookhaven as a junior research associate in the Oceanographic Sciences Division. He became head of Meteorological Services in 1991-92, and then division head of the Oceanographic & Atmospheric Sciences Division in 1993, a position he held until that Division was closed in 1997. Wirick has been a member of research teams on numerous oceanographic research cruises, and he has made important contributions to research to determine the cause of Long Island's brown tide. This year, he served as acting chair of the Department of Applied Science, and later, interim chair of the ES Department.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory creates and operates major facilities available to university, industrial and government personnel for basic and applied research in the physical, biomedical and environmental sciences and in selected energy technologies. The Laboratory is operated by Brookhaven Science Associates, a not-for-profit research management company, under contract with the U.S. Department of Energy.

-30-

NOTE TO LOCAL EDITORS: Creighton Wirick is a resident of Westhampton, NY.