The Man Who Delayed D-Day

John Steele in Nautilus:

When Dwight D. Eisenhower was planning the invasion of Normandy, he made sure to check with Walter Munk and his colleagues first. Munk had come to the United States from Austria-Hungary to work as a banker before switching to oceanography, eventually making major advances in the science of tidal and wave forecasting. He was a defense researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1944 when his team calculated that the seas on June 5 of that year would be so rough that a delay was in order. The invasion would happen on the following day.

It was just one highlight among many in Munk’s career. From explaining why we always see the same side of the moon to sending a sound signal halfway around the world, Munk, who passed away in February 2019, was the very definition of the enterprising scientist. When I spoke to him at a workshop of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences at the Vatican, he spoke with an energy and enthusiasm that belied his 96 years.

More here.