Image of R/V <i>Atlantis</i> R/V Atlantis
R/V Atlantis, MIT Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1931

In 1968, MIT and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) established a joint program for graduate studies in Oceanography. The connection between MIT and WHOI goes back much further. WHOI used part of its start-up funding from the Rockefeller Foundation to commission MIT Naval Architecture Professor George Owen and his former student Francis Minot (MIT ’23) to design their first “purpose built” research vessel in 1931. The 143-foot ketch R/V Atlantis was the first vessel in the United States specifically designed for interdisciplinary research in marine biology, marine geology, and physical oceanography. Over 33 years, Atlantis made 299 cruises transiting 700,000 miles around the world and supporting all types of ocean science, including research on the Gulf Stream dynamics, explosives, acoustics, wave and drift predictions and seafloor mapping, and underwater photography. Since 1966, three WHOI research vessels and a NASA space shuttle have been named Atlantis in honor of this pioneering vessel.

Model on loan from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

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