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H. T. Odum Graduate Fellowship

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Howard T. Odum attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where his father was a professor of sociology, until he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force during WWII. His work during the war as a meteorology officer served as an inspiration for his interest in science.

After the war, he returned to school and earned his doctorate in zoology. From 1950-54, Odum taught general biology and limnology at UF, but eventually left to work at Duke University’s marine laboratory. In 1956, he became the director of the University of Texas’ Institute of Marine science. Following seven years in Texas, Odum went to Puerto Rico to work on the Atomic Energy Commission’s rain forest project for three years. Dr. Odum returned to UF in 1970 as a Graduate Research Professor of Environmental Engineering Sciences and Director of the Center for Environmental Policy.

Among the extensive list of prestigious awards Odum received in his lifetime are the Institute de la Vie prize and the Crafoord Prize for his work in global biogeochemistry and systems modeling. Odum said what might be the common principle throughout his career has been “the ‘maximum empower principle’ – showing that systems are self-organized to use the optimum efficiency to generate the maximum power.” He believed that this theory applies not only to biogeochemistry but also to the people around him and his own life.

This fellowship was created in 1989 to recognize the remarkable career and life of Howard T. Odu

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