Thomas Curtin is currently a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Adaptive Systems with a research focus on estimating spatial-temporal gradients through feedback control of mobile sensing. The goal is to provide valued options for decisions in uncertain and risky environments.
From 2008 to 2011, Dr. Curtin served as Chief Scientist at the NATO Undersea Research Centre in La Spezia Italy, providing strategic direction in planning and managing naval science and technology research for NATO. From 2007 through 2008, he was the Chief Knowledge Officer at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, responsible for information on air, ground and maritime unmanned systems. From 1984 to 2007, Dr. Curtin managed programs at the United States Office of Naval Research (ONR) in Physical Oceanography, Arctic Sciences, Ocean Modeling and Prediction, Undersea Autonomous Operations and Undersea Surveillance. These programs ranged from basic research (6.1) to advanced development (6.3). He also served as Deputy Director of ONR for Strategy and Planning (2003). While at ONR, he developed and led basic research initiatives in surface gravity waves, Arctic leads, sea ice mechanics, Arctic acoustics, deep ocean convection and adaptive sampling networks; and applied research initiatives in acoustic communication, autonomous underwater vehicles, autonomous surveillance and reconnaissance, mine countermeasures and persistent littoral undersea surveillance. He has been instrumental in transitioning communication technology (acoustic and electromagnetic), autonomous vehicle systems (platforms and sensors) and advanced numerical models (ocean and acoustic) to a number of acquisition programs and operational commands. He initiated an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Fest in 1997 to better connect research and operational communities. He established an annual autonomous underwater vehicle student competition in 1998 that is now an international event designed to stimulate student interest in maritime systems engineering. From 1979 to 1984, Dr. Curtin was an Assistant Professor at North Carolina State University, teaching several courses and serving as principal investigator on numerous research grants and contracts. From 1969 through 1971, he was an oceanographer at the Fisheries Research Institute in Penang Malaysia. He has been Chief Scientist on over 25 oceanographic cruises in the mid-latitude and equatorial Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Arctic Ocean, the Ross Sea in Antarctica, and the South China Sea.
Dr. Curtin received the B.S. degree in Physics from Boston College, the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Physical Oceanography from Oregon State University and the University of Miami, respectively, and the M.B.A. degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His thesis topics focused on electrical fields in the ocean, coastal ocean frontal dynamics, and research management using system dynamics and real option valuation. He has been guest editor of several journals (IEEE, AGU), has authored over 35 peer-reviewed papers, 21 technical reports and 2 patents. He holds a pilot’s license (land and sea ratings) and SCUBA
certification. He has been awarded the U.S. Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Medal, the U.S. Navy Superior Civilian Service Medal, the U.S. Navy Unit Commendation and the U.S. Coast Guard Arctic Service Medal.