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Akasofu endowment tops $110,000 on eve of building dedication

Submitted by Carla Browning
Phone: (907) 474-7778


Photo caption below.
Photo courtesy IARC
Syun-Ichi Akasofu

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Dignitaries, scientists and friends will gather April 27, 2007 at the University of Alaska Fairbanks to honor the legacy of Syun-Ichi Akasofu, the world-renowned scientist and founding director of UAF's International Arctic Research Center.

The UA Board of Regents unanimously approved a proposal in December to name the building that houses IARC in honor of the center's founder. Concurrently, Professor Akasofu's colleagues, students and admirers are recognizing his contributions by supporting a newly established Akasofu endowment fund.

The fund, established through the University of Alaska Foundation, surpassed $110,000 this month, when Japanese scientists and corporations contributed $95,000. These funds will allow the university to sponsor an ongoing series of lectures by and visits from eminent scientific leaders. Additionally, in supporting visiting scientists, the fund will support important mentoring opportunities for young researchers. The latter is reminiscent of Akasofu's experience as he began his career studying the aurora at UAF in 1958 alongside his mentor, Sydney Chapman, then scientific director of UAF's Geophysical Institute.

Akasofu received his Ph.D. from UAF in 1961 and has served as professor of geophysics since 1964. He later served as the director of the Geophysical Institute from 1986-1999 and helped to establish the Alaska Volcano Observatory and modernize the Poker Flat Research Range.

He is most widely known and recognized for his body of work in auroral studies and global climate change and for his role in establishing IARC as a research institute dedicated to international collaboration and supported by both the U.S. and Japanese governments.

Under Akasofu's leadership, IARC has grown to fulfill its mission as an international climate change research center and a focal point for scientific collaboration.

A reception will take place Friday, April 27 from 3-4:30 p.m. at IARC room 501. The dedication will take place from 5-6:20 p.m. in the lobby. The public is welcome to attend.

CONTACT: Larry Hinzman, IARC director, at (907) 474-6016 or e-mail lhinzman@iarc.uaf.edu or to make contributions to the fund, contact Roger Smith, Geophysical Institute director, at (907) 474-7416 or e-mail roger.smith@gi.alaska.edu.