Troy - Peter Arthur Fox, Ph. D., 61, died Saturday, March 27, 2021.
Dr. Peter Arthur Fox was a man of many faces when it came to his accomplishments. When at high school he excelled in mathematics and science as you would expect. He would regularly represent FHS in the State Tennis Squad, or Volleyball – but Cricket allowed him to brag of an undisclosed time he was 100 not out, he may have told you that story. Whilst never a strong Aussie Rules Footballer he does have a premiership to speak of (under 12) and was a fanatical long distant supporter of his Saints (St Kilda Football Club) along with Evan and his mother. He was taught by hard working parents Tom & Dot the value you contribute by doing what you commit to do. And Peter was often challenged by his younger brother Paul in everything except math. Peter was a long term youth leader and First Aid champion within St John Ambulance Australia, ending up running a 40 strong youth cadet division along with Paul and Alaina. Once Peter married Gillian (a nurse) they were quick to settle in a little house and a new baby Megan came along. But upon completion of his PHD Monash and Australia lost him when he took Gillian and Megan to Yale. Evan was born and the academic story continued. As a mature man Peter enjoyed the outdoors particularly in Boulder CO, the wildlife around Foothills was a favourite. Mountain bikes became a fad until the bruises became slower to heal and he moved on to saner pursuits. Like Farmers Markets! Peter was the guy who would travel 48 hrs return to be at a family event in Australia – but he always had that Mac with him to complete his work long into the nights. Peter and Erica supported a multitude of local causes in Troy and Erica was always a guiding light for the couples creativity and social events, along with a close group of loved friends.
Dr. Peter Fox was the Tetherless World Constellation Chair, Director of the Information Technology and Web Science program, and Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Computer Science, and Cognitive Science. He Dr. Fox joined Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2008 to complete the Tetherless World Constellation. He was known for defining informatics and data science in the earth sciences. His research explored the application of applied mathematics, theoretical physics, and computer science to a variety of problems in solar and solar-terrestrial physics. In 2012, Dr. Fox was named director of the interdisciplinary Information Technology and Web Science program. Under his direction, the program was ranked number one among undergraduate programs at national colleges and universities by College Choice, a leading authority in college and university rankings and resources.
Dr. Fox fundamentally changed the way scientists approach the data they collect. During three decades of research, he developed proven methodologies for rapidly and efficiently extracting meaning from datasets without exhaustive discipline-specific knowledge. His work has aided researchers at organizations including the Deep Carbon Observatory, NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Global Change Research Program in the most effective use of data to advance knowledge within their fields.
Dr. Fox earned a bachelor of science degree (Honors I) in mathematics and a doctorate in mathematics, both from Monash University in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Prior to joining Rensselaer, Dr. Fox was the Chief Computational Scientist at the High Altitude Observatory of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and before that, a research scientist at Yale University. Dr. Fox was well-respected in his field and earned many prestigious professional distinctions. He was President of the Federation of Earth Science Information Partners 2104 to 2016; Chair of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics Union Commission on Data and Information 2007 to 2015; Past Chair of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Special Focus Group on Earth and Space Science Informatics; and Editor-in-Chief of the AGU journal Earth and Space Science. Dr. Fox served on the International Council for Science's Strategic Coordinating Committee for Information and Data. In 2012, he was awarded the Martha Maiden Lifetime Achievement Award for service to the Earth Science Information community, and the European Geosciences Union Ian McHarg Medal for significant contributions to Earth and Space Science Informatics. In 2015, he was elected as the first Earth and Space Science Informatics fellow to the AGU. In 2018, Dr. Fox was elected as Fellow to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in recognition of his "distinguished, innovative, and sustained fundamental contributions in Earth and space science informatics and data science research, education, and service."
Dr. Fox is survived by his partner, Erica Veil; his mother, Devona Edith Fox; son, Evan Fox (fiancée Vanessa Tsaples); daughter, Megan Fox Smith (Marty); grandchildren Amelia, Max, and Zac; brother, Paul Fox (Alaina); nephews Scott Fox (Amy) and Michael Fox (Bianca); niece Sarah Mangan (Tom); and other extended family in Florida, Ireland, Tasmania, and Australia. He will be greatly missed by numerous colleagues, students, former students, and friends.
A memorial service will be announced at a later date.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dr. Peter Arthur Fox, Ph.D., please visit our floral store.