Duke University Marine Lab Director Receives Inaugural Mines Medal

September 30, 2009
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Laura Cloak, Student Communications Assistant

DURHAM, N.C. – Cindy L. Van Dover, director of the Duke University Marine Laboratory in Beaufort, N.C., has been named recipient of the first annual Mines Award presented by the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.  

She will receive the award at a ceremony on Oct. 14 in Rapid City, S.D. 

The Mines Award honors an individual for his or her exceptional contributions toward understanding and resolving the technological challenges that impact society.  School of Mines President Robert A. Wharton, creator of the award, said. “Dr. Van Dover’s decades of deep sea research provide both a legacy of knowledge and a blueprint for further exploration and study. Her fearless exploration of the unknown makes her an ideal candidate for the Mines Medal.” 

Van Dover, a widely cited expert on deep-sea hydrothermal vents, is chair and professor in the Division of Marine Sciences and Conservation at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

Prior to joining the university’s faculty in 2006, she held positions at the College of William & Mary, the University of Oregon's Institute of Marine Biology, West Coast National Undersea Research Center, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Institute of Marine Science and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. 

She has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and has also shared her work with the non-scientific community through magazine articles, radio and television segments, a podcast detailing an expedition to Antarctica, and her book, The Octopus’s Garden. She is the first woman and PhD to complete the rigorous training necessary to pilot the ALVIN submersible research vehicle, allowing her to explore the ocean floor to depths of more than 3,600 meters. 

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