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Fellows Directory

David Cartwright

David Cartwright

Dr David Cartwright FRS


Elected: 1984


After making important contributions to the statistical theory of ocean surface waves and the oscillatory motions of ships, David Cartwright became a leading investigator of ocean tides. He owed his success in this to a well-combined use of the available tools; deep sea pressure measurements using specially developed instruments in carefully selected sites, analysis of these and other records using powerful new methods of time series analysis, and skilled interpretation in terms of tidal dynamics supplemented by numerical models where required.

His interests included the tides of the solid Earth and the surprisingly strong interactions between the fluid and solid tides: his major paper on the north-east Atlantic (the result of ten years of observation, analysis and interpretation) provides the first directly measured estimates of the oceanic tidal energy flux and dissipation since the pioneering studies of Geoffrey Taylor and Harold Jeffreys, with implications for the longstanding problem of the Moon’s recession from the Earth.

Dr David Cartwright FRS died on 2 December 2015.

Biographical Memoir

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Earth and environmental sciences
    • Physical oceanography
  • Other
    • History of science
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