In May 2000, the Geophysical Institute hosted a gathering to celebrate the organization's 50th anniversary. Current and former employees, faculty, and researchers gathered at the Geophysical Institute on the campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks to share their memories of their time working at the Institute. On May 5, 2000, there was a morning storytelling session and an afternoon storytelling session, with a variety of speakers giving short presentations. Click on a person's name to learn more about them.
Click on sections below to listen to the speakers in the Afternoon Session:
Dr. Smith was the Director of the Geophysical Institute from 1999 until his retirement in 2011. He came to the Institute in 1984 to study upper-atmospheric dynamics and auroral dynamics at high latitudes by optical methods.
Section 1: introduction to session\ Helfferich, Merritt\ Geophysical Institute\ South Pole\ camera\ University of Alaska Fairbanks\ electronic age\ arranged for its return\ experiments\ infrasound experiment\ bits and pieces|
Dan came to work at the Geophysical Institute in 1970 to study infrasound, and over the years worked on a variety of projects, including running the Poker Flat Research Range observatory at Fort Yukon, setting up remote research stations and equipment, and building research instruments in particular related to optics and infrasound. At the time of this anniversary celebration, he was still working at the Geophysical Institute as a Project Engineer.
Section 1: Smith, Roger\ Romick, Jerry\ Spitsbergen\ airport\ tunnel\ security checkpoint\ lecture halls\ metal detection\ North Ireland\ bomb|
Section 2: urban legend\ Bunnell, Charles\ aunt -- visiting\ Alaska -- trip in 1940\ Creamer's Dairy\ Poker Flat Research Range\ Fort Yukon\ Anderson, Hugh\ rocket launch\ work\ blue light absorbed|
Section 3: Poker Flat Research Range\ rocket launch facility\ Aurora Borealis\ rockets -- three\ Barrow\ Fort Yukon\ data -- none\ dome\ red glow\ red Aurora\ launch\ blockhouse\ rising sun|
Charles (Bucky) Wilson
Bucky was employed at the Geophysical Institute from 1961 to the mid-2000's as a Professor of Physics and studied glaciology, cosmic rays, and auroral-magnetic phenomena.
Section 1: Juneau Ice Cap\ Geophysical Institute\ Moore, Terris\ physics\ American Geographical Society\ Alaska\ retirement -- came out of\ Palmer Station -- Antarctica\ science -- working in\ photography\ Elvey, Christian\ Healy|
Section 2: sleeping car\ coal car\ Healy\ box car\ generator -- 5 kilowatt\ coal -- shovel\ hotel\ worked -- six weeks\ Mt. Wrangell\ New York University\ neutron monitor\ Moore, Terris\ mountain -- climb\ Moore, Terrence -- fly in\ camp -- establish\ Chitina\ Air Force\ parachute|
Section 3: Haley, Herb -- pilot\ Chitina\ airplane -- Super Cub\ fly in\ plane -- rolled over\ battery\ gas -- aviation\ Hugo|
Larry was employed at the Geophysical Institute from 1958 to 1995 as an engineer and worked on a variety of projects, including military missile tracking and early warning systems, rocket launches at Poker Flat Research Range, helping to build the Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Facility at UAF and serving as its facility operations supervisor.
Section 1: Merit, Bob\ Sputnik I\ ionosphere\ Geophysical Institute -- hire\ machine shop\ field sites\ motivation\ Ballaine Lake\ truck\ caterpillar\ Sampson Hardware\ bees wax|
Section 2: hiring people\ work -- summers\ college\ Fairbanks\ paperwork\ Merit, Bob\ Stanley, Glen\ Alaska -- bush\ final report|
Bill was employed at the Geophysical Institute from 1967 to 1997 as an Associate Professor of Geophysics and used remote sensing and satellite imagery to study nearshore sea ice behavior and track the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
Section 1: Brown, Neil\ spark plug\ smoke\ Belon, Al\ April Fool's note\ open hoods\ spark plug -- hook-up|
Section 2: Roederer, Juan\ Christmas -- skits\ paperwork\ Mather, Keith\ work orders\ Miller, John\ Sackinger, Bill\ looting\ armed guard|
Section 3: person -- from CIA\ Christmas -- annual party\ Roederer, Juan\ skit\ Argentina\ dress rehearsal -- postponed\ Geophysical Institute -- director\ smiling|
Don was employed at the Geophysical Institute from 1970 to 1987 as a Professor of Geology and studied geology and geochronology.
Section 1: Geophysical Institute\ Alaska --coming to\ California\ ice crystals\ education -- post-doctorate\ grass -- cutting\ Sweet, Larry\ Belon, Al\ Mather, Keith|
Section 2: lab\ Natural Science Building\ Forbes, Bob\ Smith, Tom\ project\ Clear Water Mountains\ Susitna River\ Wescott, Eugene\ geothermal energy resources\ dry oil wells|
Section 3: Volkswagen generator\ DC power supply -- went down\ Wescott, Eugene\ balance weight\ pick-up truck\ cells -- battery\ rock samples\ helicopter|
Section 4: Katmai National Park\ Forbes, Bob\ battery box\ wire -- shorted out\ fire\ Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes\ pilot -- put helicopter down\ Indonesia\ Internet stocks|
Jim was employed at the Geophysical Institute from 1976 to 1993 as a Senior Programmer/Analyst and worked with real-time computer instrumentation.
Section 1: Lawrence Radiation Laboratory\ Geophysical Institute\ Chapman Building\ computer\ repairing equipment\ Geophysical Institute -- library\ Elvey Building\ wire reporting\ Bunnell, Charles\ Chapman Building -- dedication\ College Hill Chronicles|
Section 2: communism\ Geophysical Institute -- founded on free ideas\ Bunnell, Charles\ intellectual force|
Sue Ann Bowling
Sue Ann was employed at the Geophysical Institute from 1970 to 1998 an Assistant Professor of Geophysics and researched meteorology and air pollution.
Section 1: Geophysical Institute\ Chapman Building\ Wilson, Bucky\ computer\ scientific research\ magnetic vectors\ graph paper\ ice fog\ Ohtake, Taku\ library|
Section 2: advisor\ library -- annex\ realtor\ Chapman Building\ seminars\ Geophysical Institute\ refreshments -- seminar\ graduate students|
Section 3: Fairbanks flood\ campus -- above water\ Geophysical Institute\ communication center|
Steven came to work at the Geophysical Institute in 1975 to study seismology. At the time of this anniversary celebration, he was still working at the Geophysical Institute as a Senior Project Engineer focusing his research on earthquake seismology, seismic hazards, and volcano monitoring.
Section 1: Geophysical Institute -- 25th anniversary\ Turner, Don\ Alaska -- earthquake\ Valdez Museum\ seminar\ schools -- speech\ radio station\ Anchorage\ Westmark Hotel\ Exxon Valdez Oil Spill\ community center\ press conference|
Section 2: room\ community center\ room -- divided\ Exxon Valdez Oil Spill\ Valdez\ airplanes\ Fairbanks\ Ohtake, Taku\ Antarctica\ luggage\ Fairbanks -- airport\ rain dance\ Wescott, Eugene\ Pope John Paul II\ Reagan, President Ronald\ campus\ Bunnell Building\ files -- print out|
Enid was married to Dr. Howard Cutler, the Vice President of Academic Affairs at the University of Alaska from 1962 to 1966 and the first Chancellor of the University of Alaska Fairbanks from 1976 to 1981. Enid and Howard were active in the university community and hosted many social gatherings during which she came to know some of the early founders of the Geophysical Institute.
Section 1: Chapman, Sydney\ Aurora Borealis\ England\ Fairbanks\ Africa\ relationship -- England and America\ Chapman, Sydney -- handsome\ parents\ sauna|
Section 2: woman -- from Finland\ log house\ Chapman, Sydney\ sauna\ swimming laps\ Geophysical Institute\ Mather, Keith\ Australia\ Mather, Betty\ people -- from all over the world\ menus\ wives\ isolation\ friendship|
John was employed at the Geophysical Institute from 1971 to 1993 as an engineer and studied aerospace applications of remote-sensing technology and assessment of geophysical hazards in the Arctic and Subarctic.
Section 1: Geophysical Institute\ electrical engineering\ Merit, Bob\ Hesler, Vic\ earth currents -- recording\ magnetic storms\ Aurora activity -- records\ tripod\ Aurora -- photograph\ electronic lab\ recommendation\ Bates, Skip\ enhanced echoes\ ionosphere|
Section 2: Bates, Skip\ test tubes\ routine maintenance\ degree\ Hoff, Harold L. -- NASA\ satellite tracking station\ Ballaine Lake site\ management\ National Science Foundation\ antenna\ Anderson|
Mary Ann Borchert
Mary Ann was employed at the Geophysical Institute from 1971 to 1986 where she ran the electron microscope laboratory.
Section 1: Geophysical Institute\ Institute of Arctic Biology\ electron microscope\ Morrison, Phillip\ Mather, Keith\ Cole, Henry\ carpentry project\ wall unit\ Duval, Dianne\ Kennedy, Chris\ calculations -- on wall unit\ chainsaw\ log -- above door|
Dr. Akasofu was employed at the Geophysical Institute from 1958 to 1999 where he studied space physics and auroral substorms, and was director from 1986 to 1999. In 1999, he became the first Director of the International Arctic Research Center (IARC) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Closing statement by Al Belon