Honoring Professor Jim McCarthy

During February and March 2019, Jim McCarthy reflected on his scientific and professional growth, spanning the course of his career, in a series of conversations with HUCE Research Associate, Alex Griswold. The interviews have been lightly edited and are available as audio podcasts. The series starts with how Jim chose to enter the field of biological oceanography as an undergraduate, his graduate work at Scripps and arrival at Harvard, and the subsequent blossoming of his studies of plankton and nutrient cycles into large international collaborations, leading to the founding of a new journal, Global Biogeochemical Cycles. Jim points out how his work gained new urgency with the growing understanding of the threat of human-induced climate change, his appointment as co-chair of the Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability working group of the Third IPCC Report, and later work with the Arctic Council. He describes how his commitment to the public understanding of science motivated his leadership role in the Union of Concerned Scientists, his years as Director of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, and his support of Harvard's public museums. Finally, he looks back on his legacy to the many students who have been touched by him over the years: his years as Faculty Dean, with his wife Sue, of Pforzheimer House; his pivotal role in the founding of the Harvard University Center for the Environment; and his optimism in the current generation of students.

PART 1 (1970-1982) – Early Career and Development of a Cross-Disciplinary Approach to Oceanography


PART 2 (1982-1995) – Remote Sensing, the International Geosphere Biosphere Program, and Signs of Climate Change


PART 3 (1990-2004) – Climate Change Impacts: The IPCC, Arctic Council Report, and Union of Concerned Scientists


PART 4 – Taking on New Roles at Harvard:  Director of MCZ, Co-Faculty Dean of Pforzheimer House


PART 5 – Role in the Founding of the Harvard University Center for the Environment and in the Re-configuration of the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture; Reflections on the Future for Students Interested in Environmental Sciences

A full transcript of the interview can be found here

We hope you enjoy the podcasts and will join us in celebrating Jim’s many accomplishments. 

Harvard University
Center for the Environment

Address: 26 Oxford Street, 4th Floor, Cambridge
Email: huce@environment.harvard.edu
Phone: (617) 495-0368

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