The Deep Sea Drilling Project had always had an international character. The shipboard science party consisted of ten to twelve specialists in different fields, and we always wanted to have the greatest expertise possible aboard. The members of the party were responsible for describing and making preliminary examinations of the cores. This involved studies of the sediments, their contained fossils, and even the chemistry of the pore waters.
Jerry Winterer of Scripps perhaps best described the experience of participation as ‘attending the great traveling seminar’. In the laboratories and at mealtimes we discussed all sorts of topics. It was an incredible learning experience for all those who sailed on one or more of those two month Legs aboard the GLOMAR Challenger. The participants developed a camaraderie that extended across the old institutional barriers.
I was Chair of the Planning Committee from 1972to 1974when the plans for including international partners were being developed. It was also decided that we would expand the US membership, including Universities that had major oceanographic programs. Art Maxwell had become Head of the Institute of Geophysics at the University of Texas, and they had at-sea seismic operations underway, so they were to be included too.
Until now the job of the Chair of the Planning Committee occupied about a quarter to half of a scientist’s time. It was not funded from the DSDP, but contributed by the institution that had the honor of having its member serve in that position. During the planning for the expansion and internationalization of JOIDES the job became full time plus. Instead of preparing five or ten copies of reports it was now necessary to make more like fifty copies so they could be sent to the prospective participants to keep them informed. Previously we had reported to only one funding agency, now we were going to have six. Little mistakes in the paperwork could cause confusion and a lot of trouble. About half way through my term I explained to my colleagues that things were getting out of hand, and at the inception of the new program we would need to have some support for the Planning Committee Chair. We also needed a more efficient way of communicating, not just among all the new members of the program but with all of our Panel members, past participants in the shipboard science parties, and to aid in recruiting prospective future participants. I think I put a stack of reports and correspondence on the table to show what we were up against. We now had an observer from the National Science Foundation attending our meetings, and he too was impressed.
The result was the establishment of a JOIDES Office with a science coordinator and a secretary. The Office would move with the Planning Committee Chairmanship, and there would be a ‘newsletter’. It immediately morphed into a little magazine, the JOIDES Journal. These ideas were presented to the Executive Committee, which immediately approved them. Our glorious days of cozy informality in planning and running what had become the most respected program of geological exploration of planet Earth were over.
The financial plan for internationalization was for the United StatesNational Science Foundation to provide the largest shareabout, 2/3 of the funding, thereby retaining ultimate control. The five other participating countries, the USSR, Germany, France, Britain, and Japan each provided equal sums, initially $1 million each. One institution in each country became a member of JOIDES. At the same time, the appropriate departments or institutions at five more US Universities, Hawaii, Oregon, Texas, Texas A & M and Rhode Island became members of JOIDES. All at once, the simple informal discussions with six old friends sitting around the table became a very formal operation with sixteen participants. Bruce Malfait, program officer at NSF once described it as like herding cats.
I was still Chair for the first meeting of the expanded Planning Committee. It was held at Scripps in La Jolla. This gave the new participants the opportunity of seeing the DSDP onshore facilities and to meet with the staff. It was largely an organizational meeting, and one of our first tasks was to find a name for the new program.
A few weeks earlier I had broken my ankle on a visit to London, and had a cast on my leg. A few days before the meeting Terry Edgar, the resident DSDP chief scientist had an accident while surfing, and one of his legs was wrapped in bandages. Both of us were on crutches. The two of us sitting at the head of the table with our legs propped up and our crutches made quite an impression on our colleagues. It was suggested that somehow the moment should be commemorated in the new name for the project. ‘UniPOD’ was suggested, for ‘United Program of Ocean Drilling’. POD, of course, is Greek for foot, and the project's one-legged leaders would thus be immortalized. But we settled on the simpler ‘IPOD’ which stood for ‘International Program of Ocean Drilling’ but would also recall our condition at this meeting. This is how the program was known until its end in 1983. To smooth the funding procedure inside the National Science Foundation, the name officially became the ‘International Phase of Ocean Drilling of the Deep Sea Drilling Program’. But to everyone for the next decade, it was simply IPOD. We should have copyrighted the name.
Another of our tasks was to set up topical advisory panels. We identified the scientific topics of interest in a new way and established twelve panels to cover them, with it total membership of about 125. We also established a panel to provide liaison with industry.
All of those first meetings with expanded membership were truly exciting. I was still Chair of the Planning Committee at the first meeting of the new JOIDES Executive Committee. When it had been four, then five people the Executive Committee, the meetings were like a continuing soap opera. The Planning Committee Chairman was there to present the Committee’s reports and requests for approval. Since only one member of the original Executive Committee, Maurice Ewing, was a geologist, much of the technical discussion was a dialog. But then the Planning Committee business would be finished, and the Executive Committee could get on to arguing about other things, such as who had the best plans for expeditions, the best faculty, who would carry out special studies, etc. These often became acrimonious, and rarely was anything in those regards decided. But the arguments were always carried over to the next meeting. Remember that two of the original four members of the Executive Committee, Walton Smith of Miami, and Maurice Ewing of Lamont were Founders of their institutions. Bill Nierenberg of Scripps and Paul Fye of Woods Hole and later Maurice Rattray of Washington were simply Directors. As far as the Founders were concerned, there was a big distinction between being a Founder and a Director. And Bill Nierenberg would always remind us that he had been involved in the Manhattan Project. Five cats in one room.
At the first meeting of the new expanded Executive Committee I made the presentations for the Planning Committee. But as had been the case in previous Executive Committee meetings, the soap opera began where it had left off last time: in the middle of some abstruse discussion of who should get the credit for what. Speaking German and French was a valuable asset to help in discreetly bringing those representatives up to date on what was going on. But I was worried about Soviet representative Andrei Monin, Director of the Shirshov Institute of Oceanology in Moscow. He was accompanied by an assistant, Igor Mikhaltsev, who was more proficient in English. But proficiency in English was not much help in understanding the ongoing arguments among the original American members of the Executive Committee. Their disputes had more to do with inter-institutional politics than with ocean drilling. I sat next to Andrei and Igor, and quietly explained to them what was going on, and what the discussions/arguments were really about. It was something they greatly appreciated, and never forgot.
Incidentally, for history buffs, all issues of the JOIDES Journal are available athttp://www.odplegacy.org/program_admin/joides_journal.html