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Akasofu Authors New Book on Aurora

Submitted by Ned Rozell
Phone: (907) 474-7468

09/10/02

Kluwer Academic Publishers have recently released "Exploring the Secrets of the Aurora" by Syun-Ichi Akasofu, director of the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Akasofu is one of the world's top experts on the aurora borealis. He is the author of dozens of books, including, "Secrets of the Aurora Borealis," published recently by Alaska Geographic.

Akasofu wrote his new book for graduate students and scientists in all fields. In the book, Akasofu describes the history of progress in aurora science and uses it for a framework for the theme of embracing controversy in science. Too many times, he writes, scientists neglect to pursue results that contradict established theories, and the evolution of a discipline stalls.

"If you can't find anything wrong with the current paradigm, there is no progress," he said.

Akasofu draws upon his own experiences in the book, detailing how researchers discounted several theories, such as the concept of the auroral substorm, and then later accepted them.

"In aurora physics, many longstanding problems remain unsolved," he said. "There are two reasons. One, aurora physics is difficult to study. Two, some ideas prevail for too long."