Though an admitted math ace, Clarke never dreamed he would become a Florida State professor "who researched ocean currents and climate variability," he said.
"I used to wonder why some Australian summers were hotter than others but never thought that I would someday have the privilege of finding out about those things," explained Clarke, who earned his doctorate in applied mathematics and theoretical physics from Cambridge (and from the same department that attracted world-renowned cosmologist Stephen Hawking).
Clarke's respected textbook, published in 2008 a project that was nearly a decade in the making was written for students and scientists either working on the El Nio/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) problem or its many applications. ENSO affects climate variability over 70 percent of the globe. For example, an El Nio typically results in a colder and wetter winter in Florida and the southeastern United States while making other parts of the world (for example, Australia) drier than normal. Clarke's book addresses topics such as air-sea interaction during El Nio, ENSO forecasting using statistical and huge computer models, and understanding how these changes affect marine and bird life.
One of his former students who reviewed it enthusiastically summed up Clarke's teaching method: "The book follows Dr. Clarke's style: 'mathematically rigorous development of topics and applications on the real world problems.'"
Clarke admits he adores teaching, research and his students.
"Teaching and research go extremely well together. I'm not going to teach what I don't understand completely," said Clarke, "and in that process you often learn new things." More than 25 research papers by Clarke and his students have been a direct result of his classes.
"One of the privileges of working at a university is the opportunit
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Florida State University