In 1842, Lieutenant Matthew Fontaine Maury, the father of naval oceanography, had a vision. The stacks of musty ship logs and records filling the recesses of his office at the Depot of Charts and Instruments offered an opportunity to unlock many of the oceans' mysteries. Determined to turn his obscure posting into something of significance, Maury began the scientific compilation of the seemingly countless observations of the sea and sky. After clear patterns emerged from his studies, he published a series of Wind and Current Charts, followed by his revolutionary book, Physical Geography of the Sea. Maury's publications became so popular with scientists and mariners around the world that by the mid-1850s he was arguably the most famous living naval officer. Commonly referred to as the "Pathfinder of the Seas," Maury had a talent for getting the ocean right, and created a timeless influence that continues to cast ripples across the oceans to which we look for recreation, commerce, and defense.
Getting the Ocean Right
By Thomas E. Crew and Captain Andrew Brown III, U.S. Navy