Allyn C. Vine
“Even rescue submarines don’t pack them in as tightly as we did on double dates in a model A roadster.”

Key Achievement: Invented the Alvin submersible vessel that found the Titanic


Allyn C. Vine was affiliated with Woods Hole (Mass.) Oceanographic Institution since 1940 until his unexpected death in 1994: as a physicist from 1940 to 1950, as a physical oceanographer from 1950 to 1963, as a Senior Scientist from 1963 to 1984, and as a Scientist Emeritus since 1984.

He graduated from Hiram College with a degree in Physics, Chemistry, and Math in 1936.  He received the M.S. degree in physics and geophysics from Lehigh University in 1940. He also received an honorary degree of Doctor of Science from Lehigh University.

Vine’s areas of professional interest were: underwater acoustics and their geographic variations, and research ships and deep submersibles.  He had been involved in the development of improved sea-going techniques and specialized instruments to improve understanding of oceanographic problems and processes.  One of his interests was the achievement of a better understanding of the ocean, regarding it as a stabilizing influence in world affairs because of its resource potential and political internationalism.

He was a founding member of the Marine Technology Society (MTS), of which he was director from 1963-64; a trustee of the International Oceanographic Foundation, Miami, FL; and a member of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME).

He received the Hiram College Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award in 1967, and the 1969 Compass Distinguished Achievement Award from the MTS.

Vine is the author or co-author of more than 30 publications, holder of 10 U.S. patents, and has been a contributor to the American Institute of Physics Handbook and the Handbook of Ocean and Underwater Engineering published by McGraw Hill.

He served on the following committees: the National Academy of Engineering’s committee on ocean engineering; an ad hoc committee on massive glass as a naval structural material of the National Research Council’s Materials Advisory Board; an advisory group for ocean engineering of SNAME; the deep submergence group of the Director of Naval Laboratories; an advisory panel for sea grant projects of the National Science Foundation’s Office of Sea Grant Programs; and an advisory group on floating bases of the Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency.

In 1946, Vine served with the Wave measurement group at Operation CROSSROADS, Bikini Island, and in 1964-65 and again in 1967-68.  He also lectured at the U.S. Naval War College, Newport, RI.

He was a member of the Deep Submergence Systems Review Group, 1963-65; a member of the Department of Interior’s Advisory Committee on Marine Resources and Development, 1967-68; and a member of the National Academy of Science’s Committee on Oceanography and chairman of its panel on engineering needs for ocean exploration, 1957-63.

Vine helped create a 36,000 pound, 22-foot long, 2-man submersible vessel.  This vessel, fittingly named Alvin by his colleagues, found the Titanic 74 years after it sank in 1912.  Vine retired two years prior to the finding of the Titanic, capping a 44-year career in oceanography. 

After his retirement, Vine was instrumental in conducting research to discover if nuclear waste could be safely and properly disposed of underneath the sea bed.

Interesting Fact: The Alvin and Vine’s team found five foot long red worms in the ocean that were never before known to man.  Vine also used the Alvin to find a lost H-bomb off the shore of Spain.

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