View Full Version : Death of a giant most have never heard of

Skip Lackie
02-12-2019, 04:07 PM
It's sad but true that we lose people every day that have contributed greatly to our general welfare -- without even noticing that they ever existed. So I feel compelled to note the death of Walter Munk at the age of 101. Dr Munk contributed to our freedom and welfare in many ways -- from the prediction of the waves at the invasion of North Africa in 1942, to making it possible to predict the size of waves for the surfer community, to hypothesizing that one could measure the changes in the temperature of the entire world ocean by generating very loud sounds in deep water at a few selected locations. He made major contributions to the defeat of the Axis in WWII and the demise of the Soviet Union in the Cold War.

I knew Dr Munk slightly (he probably wouldn't have remembered me) but like everybody else who met him, I found him to be charming, funny, entertaining, and unpretentious -- as well as very, very smart. He and his wife threw fabulous parties at their house overlooking the Pacific in La Jolla that he bought some time in the 1940s. I was invited once, but regrettably couldn't make it.

Both the science of oceanography and the US Navy will miss his wisdom and guidance.


02-13-2019, 11:05 AM
Living in San Diego, news of Dr. Munk's passing made the news, though only briefly. Here's the story from our hometown paper: