New Web Exhibit on the History of Oceanography and the R/V Vema

Joanna Behrman's picture

The Center for History of Physics at the American Institute of Physics has put together a new virtual exhibit which takes visitors on an interactive journey across the world’s oceans aboard the Research Vessel Vema. Formerly a luxury yacht, the R/V Vema became a workhorse of geophysical research during its nearly thirty years of service at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. The sediment and water samples, heat flow measurements, seismic profiles, paleomagnetic readings and other data collected by scientists aboard the Vema directly contributed to the confirmation of plate tectonics, marrying geological & geophysical research into a unified theory.

The exhibit puts the Vema’s story into historical and geographic context. The events described in oral histories, for instance, have been matched with dates and positions and charted on an interactive map. And as visitors navigate the map, they can also learn how the Vema crew navigated the waters of the Cold War even as they navigated the world’s oceans—from clandestine meetings with Russian scientists to missile tests and accusations of international espionage.

Visit the free web exhibit to learn more about the research vessel and what it’s like to do science at sea: