THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON ALUMNI MAGAZINE
LeRoy O. Olson
Distinguished Staff Award
Department: Principal Mechanical Engineer, Applied Physics Laboratory; 39 years at UW.
On the Job: Develops and directs deployment of numerous open-ocean and seafloor experiments, including surface buoys, deep-sea towers for stable acoustic platforms and unmanned submersibles. He is "the engineer to whom scientists come when faced with a challenging design or field deployment problems," says a supervisor.
Achievements: He conceived and executed the means by which four sulfide chimneys (weighing at least 1,200 pounds each) would be recovered from the ocean bottom, 1.5 miles below the surface. This was a very risky operation, fraught with problems such as temperatures hot enough to melt recovery lines, high pressures, and little knowledge of the structures themselves.
Quote: "Olson's work is characterized by innovation in combination with sound engineering practice, by foresight and attention to detail, by careful planning and superb execution. His consistent high standards have earned him the absolute trust of his co-workers and the scientists whom he supports."--Applied Physics Laboratory Director Robert Spindel
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