CIESIN joins the broad earth science and informatics communities in mourning the sudden passing of Peter Fox, who was widely respected as a key scholar, thinker, and mentor across a wide range of interrelated fields. At Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), Fox was Tetherless World Constellation Chair and director, Information Technology and Web Science Program, as well as professor of earth and environmental sciences, computer science, and cognitive science. He was a past president of the Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP), which, together with the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the Research Data Alliance (RDA), the Committee on Data (CODATA), and other organizations, characterized Fox as a “titan” in the Earth Science informatics community.
Fox interacted regularly with many CIESIN staff members in different organizations, including ESIP, AGU, RDA, CODATA, and the International Science Council (ISC) World Data System (WDS). CIESIN director Robert Chen served with him on the ISC Strategic Coordinating Committee on Information and Data from 2009 to 2011, which helped guide the modernization and reorganization of the WDS. Fox was an active and valued member of the User Working Group (UWG) of the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN, serving a four-year term from 2009 to 2013. He was a leading proponent of the value of interdisciplinary scientific data stewardship to advance science and societal benefits. Fox was especially known as a strong and supportive mentor for many different scholars and practitioners across a wide range of fields.
Fox′s colleagues and friends at CIESIN, together with former and current members of the SEDAC UWG, are deeply saddened by this untimely loss and will greatly miss his wisdom, warmth, and wit. We extend our condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues around the world.