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 Morning Session:
Al was the Associate Director of the Division of Geosciences. His interests and activities have ranged from aeronomy and magnetosphetic research to the development of a university-wide interdisciplinary program of applications of remote sensing. He was the recipient of the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement in 1974.
Section1: introduction\ baking cake\ inflated balloon\ Roederer, Juan|
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: Roederer, Juan\ Geophysical Institute\ graduate student\ International Geophysical Year\ Chapman, Sydney\ Spitzbergen\ equipment -- installing\ tundra\ wind chill\ Osborne, Dan\ Deerh, Chuck\ Romick, Jerry\ stories|
Section 2: heater\ equipment\ frost -- clearing\ Helfferich, Merritt\ weather\ taxi\ tundra\ spectrometers\ Spitsbergen\ spectrograph\ old barracks\ entertainment\ application|
Eugene was employed at the Geophysical Institute from 1958 to 2009, where he studied solid earth geophysics and space physics. At the time of this anniversary celebration, he was still working as an Emeritus Professor of Geophysics.
Section 1: application\ mountain climbing\ Mt. McKinley National Park\ International Geophysical Year\ Geophysical Institute\ working hard\ jokes\ Elvey, Christian\ Valentine's Day|
Section 2: jokes\ Hume, Jean\ information\ University of Alaska Fairbanks -- change date of founding\ letter -- phony\ director of information\ stationary -- new\ letter -- copies sent to everyone\ Mather, Keith\ Ballaine Lake\ Helfferich, Merritt\ St. Patrick's Day\ sock\ fluorescein\ green|
Kristina was employed at the Geophysical Institute from 1973 to 1999, where she was a remote sensing specialist who studied physical oceanography and marine geology.
Section 1: getting hired\ Mather, Keith\ Geophysical Institute\ job -- full-time\ Turner, Don\ Stone, David\ Benson, Carl\ volcanology\ backwoods -- two encounters\ cloud free\ ski -- home\ hazy blue cloud\ moon\ colors expanding|
Section 2: locked door\ morning\ Poker Flat Research Range -- rocket launch\ Geophysical Institute\ gentleman -- elderly\ Swedish greeting\ attended lecture\ parking ticket\ VW Beetle\ changed oil\ Geophysical Institute -- drove back\ garage\ policeman\ contest ticket|
Section 3: perfect iceflow\ Garrison, Gerald\ Seattle\ Arctic Ocean\ iceflow project\ North Pole\ Pearl Harbor\ Air Force\ penguins\ ice breaker\ charts\ satellite pictures\ coordinates|
Bill was employed at the Geophysical Institute from 1970 to 1995 as an Associate Professor of Geophysics and Electrical Engineering and researched sea ice.
Section 1: applied sea ice research\ pipeline\ oil companies\ Prudhoe Bay\ sea ice\ sea ice -- measurements\ strength\ low value\ Arctic Ocean\ calculated forces\ offshore\ Nelson, Dick|
Section 2: chart recorders\ paper -- sensitive\ offshore\ McKenzie River Delta\ Barrow\ Naval Arctic Research Laboratory\ gauge\ Prudhoe Bay\ Seal Island\ generators -- on site\ Honda generator\ remote site|
Section 3: ice forces\ instruments -- advanced\ computer\ geophysics\ electronics\ progress -- faster|
Ned was hired by the Geophysical Institute as a machinist in 1987 and retired in 2000. He participated in the machining and design of products such as the Freon Gravitational Engine, which is an energy producing device utilizing Arctic air and water as its source, and the Pin Bone Machine, which is a de-boning device for salmon pin bones.
Section 1: Naval Arctic Research Laboratory\ Barrow\ Geophysical Institute\ Ohtake, Taku\ instruments\ balloons\ ice crystals\ researcher\ presentation\ sun dogs\ Denner, Warren\ Ice Island T3\ gun policy\ gun safety\ scientific stock room|
Section 2: gun\ small caliber gun\ Ohtake, Taku\ balloon -- wrapped up in power line|
John "Benny" Benevento
Benny came to work at the Geophysical Institute in 1979 and reached the status of Electronic Shop Supervisor before he left in 1997.
Section 1: Augustine Island\ Cook Inlet\ Davies, John\ weather -- terrible\ Oil Point\ research\ Osgood, John -- pilot\ Oil Point -- land\ night time\ windy\ helicopter shaking|
Section 2: call spouses\ marine operator\ supervisor\ helicopter -- locked in\ son\ collect call\ stories\ fly down cliff\ watch rotor\ trees\ cut nose\ cloud level\ helicopter -- abort\ dove down toward water|
Merritt worked at the Geophysical Institute from 1966 to 1993, where he held a variety of positions, including a ballistic meteorologist and flight safety officer at the Poker Flat Research Range, Associate Director, and from 1985-1993 was Associate Director for University Relations.
Section 1: leases\ Aleutian Islands\ Board of Regents\ Geophysical Institute -- administration\ attitudes\ Ester Dome\ rocket firing\ Poker Flat Research Range\ NASA -- employee\ wires\ equipment -- caught fire\ Davis, Neil\ helicopter\ rotating beacon|
Section 2: helicopter\ rotating beacon\ Thompson, Elvin\ tower -- existing\ jumping cable -- guide in to position\ radio\ communicating\ wind\ helicopter -- gyrating\ release tower section\ cables -- hooked on\ guide line\ Thompson, Elvin -- rope around his neck\ helicopter landed|
Section 3: Belon, Al\ Cortes, Sherman -- Vice President of Finance\ Roederer, Juan\ business office\ Benevento, John\ running feud|
Section 4: Wescott, Eugene\ Geophysical Institute\ party\ control room\ rain dance\ Belon, Al\ bucket of water\ rain|
Glenn was employed at the Geophysical Institute from 1970 to 2004 as an Associate Professor of Geophysics, and studied atmospheric sciences and auroral physics. For more about Glenn Shaw, go to his full interview.
Section 1: Geophysical Institute -- coming to\ proposal\ Kenya\ solar eclipse\ Mather, Keith\ culture\ history\ stories\ geophysical data\ Sweet, Larry\ East Africa\ record data\ equipment -- shipping\ boxes -- become light tunnels\ volt meter\ LED -- photographed|
Section 2: data\ papers\ applied optics\ polarization of the sky\ solar eclipse\ Leakey, Richard\ Darwinian evolution\ Nile perch\ Lake Rudolph\ women -- weaving\ moving huts\ spitting berries|
Section 3: island\ boat -- hired\ motor -- started spitting\ motor -- quit\ crocodiles -- coming toward them\ dangerous\ boat -- slapped with their tales\ boat -- started\ island -- met the chief\ bones\ graves -- none\ metal tools -- none\ skeletons|