Robin Muench

posted in: Company News


Earth and Space Research (ESR) is sad to announce the passing of our friend and colleague Robin Muench, who died suddenly at his home January 25th at the age of 78. Robin co-founded ESR with Gary Lagerloef in 1995. He was passionate about the organization, scientific integrity, and the importance of service to the broader research community, and played a major role in ESR’s growth and management even after his retirement in 2007.


Robin Muench: 16 September 1942 – 25 January 2021


Robin had a long career as a polar physical oceanographer, first going to sea in 1965 on a research cruise to the Greenland Sea aboard a US Navy icebreaker. He was born and raised in Maine, and received a BS in physics from Bowdoin College in 1964 and an MS in earth sciences from Dartmouth College in 1966. This background led him to graduate studies in physical oceanography at the University of Washington (PhD, 1970).


Throughout his career, Robin participated in field-based physical oceanographic research, primarily in the Arctic and Antarctic. His research emphasized a holistic approach to polar physical systems, addressing problems ranging from microscale turbulent mixing, to internal waves, eddies and ocean basin boundary currents, towards appreciating the relationships between processes acting over this wide range of time and space scales. The data that he collected, often under extremely harsh conditions, have played a significant role in advancing our current understanding of these complex but critical components of the climate system.


Robin also served in many oceanographic service roles including Oceanography Section Editor for Eos, Associate Editor for Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans, President of the International Association for Physical Sciences of the Ocean (IAPSO), ex officio member of the Executive Committee for the Scientific Council on Ocean Research (SCOR), and Chair of the SCOR Working Group 121 on Ocean Mixing. He was a member of the US National Committee for Geodesy and Geophysics, and served as Secretary for Physical Oceanography of the Oceanography Section, American Geophysical Union. Robin served in Washington DC in 2000-2002, as Program Managers at the Office of Naval Research, and at the NSF Office of Polar Programs. He was interested in public science outreach and supported the Wenatchee River Institute in Leavenworth WA.


Robin was outgoing and loved spending time with friends and colleagues.  He enjoyed sharing his stories of his adventures and life. He liked to travel, both internationally and locally.  Robin was a skilled woodworker, and enjoyed outdoor activities, trips to the mountains and cross-country motorcycle rides. He was always looking forward to rides over the Cascades to Leavenworth or the Methow Valley.


We will miss him.


We have set up a memorial site at where you can post remembrances and photos.