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Glenn Shaw
Glenn Shaw

Glenn Shaw was interviewed on May 6, 2000 by Bill Schneider at the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in Fairbanks, Alaska. In this interview, Glenn talks about his scientific career at the Geophysical Institute. He discusses how he got involved with science, his atmospheric research into Arctic haze, sulphur aerosols, greenhouse gases, and climate change, and the overall leadership and achievements of the Institute.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2000-18-15

Project: Geophysical Institute 50th Anniversary
Date of Interview: May 6, 2000
Narrator(s): Glenn Shaw
Interviewer(s): Bill Schneider
Location of Interview:
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1) A little American history.

2) Settling the American West.

3) The contrasting work ethic of his father's business and his own involvement in creating the Geophysical Institute.

4) The melting pot of ideas that were housed in the early Geophysical Institute.

5) The early Geophysical Institute and more about his childhood.

6) Experiments and learning as a child.

7) His father's business providing the material for his experiments.

8) More experiments as a child.

9) His early lack of respect for school.

10) Failing algebra and going into the Navy.

11) Managing to see nuclear weapons while in the Navy.

12) Receiving a fellowship and making the next life decisions.

13) His lone wolf style work ethic at the Geophysical Institute.

14) His science style and exploring arctic haze.

15) Conclusions about arctic haze.

16) Joseph Prospero's comments regarding Glenn Shaw and greenhouse warming.

17) Altering the climate.

18) Tackling the phenomenon of sulphur aerosols over Antarctica.

19) Publishing a paper on particulates in the South Pole.

20) How Glenn's scientific mind works through problems.

21) The scientific mind continued.

22) Dimethyl sulfite, climate, and scientific research.

23) Major achievements of the Geophysical Institute.

24) Major achievements of the Geophysical Institute continued.

25) Major achievements of the Geophysical Institute and attracting good people to the Institute.

26) The future of the Geophysical Institute.

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Section 1: mother -- death\ Morgan, J.P.\ Rockefeller, John\ barons\ Civil War\ economic expansion\ industrialists\ capitalism\ Carnegie, Andrew\ Montana -- 1860's\ stagecoach\ Oregon Trail\ Indian attack|

Section 2: pioneers -- Montana\ pioneers -- Alaska\ grandparents -- French-Canadian\ grandparents -- Catholic\ Great Depression\ father -- homesteading\ Idaho\ cultural history\ Scotland\ Northern England\ wife -- Shaw, Glenn\ Nez Perce Forest\ individualism|

Section 3: Great Depression\ Shaw, Glenn -- mother\ Shaw, Glenn -- father\ Montana\ Butte, Montana\ job -- night watchman\ college -- metallurgical engineer\ Mr. Kauffman\ Butte Machinery Company\ scientist\ Geophysical Institute\ Age of Enlightenment -- Europe\ individual initiative\ collectivism\ socialism|

Section 4: background -- Scandinavian\ newspaper -- editorials\ Geophysical Institute -- scientists\ religions\ political convictions\ science -- style\ Mather, Keith\ Victorian Age\ Australian\ Belon, Al\ Romick, Jerry\ Parthasarathy, Saudi\ Ohtake, Taku\ Benson, Carl\ Deehr, Chuck\ Geophysical Institute -- free thinkers\ genetic engineering\ Romick, Jerry -- physics professor\ photo-multiplier tubes\ polarization -- sky\ grant|

Section 5: equipment -- old fashioned\ Geophysical Institute -- rundown\ Ester Dome -- experiment\ Shaw, Glenn -- childhood\ Butte, Montana\ immigrants -- Irish\ immigrants -- Chinese\ Butte, Montana -- brothel\ miners\ O'Brien, Jim\ science -- experiment|

Section 6: science experiments\ chlorine gas -- house\ Shaw, Glenn -- only child\ logarithms\ triangle\ modern physics\ interval sign\ calculus|

Section 7: father -- stories\ Golden Gate Bridge\ dams -- art deco\ metallurgical engineering\ Butte Machinery Company\ metallurgical assay laboratories\ mills -- refurbished\ chemical laboratories\ gold\ Butte, Montana\ electric meter\ gears -- ratio\ mercury\ arsenic\ sodium metal|

Section 8: water -- electrolysis\ rectifier\ hydrogen gas\ oxygen gas\ electric motors\ spark coil\ Shaw, Glenn -- grandparents|

Section 9: Rosenstein, Everett -- magic tricks\ Shaw, Glenn -- science experiments\ cat -- shock\ Geophysical Institute\ school -- slacking\ California -- trip\ history\ sociology\ algebra|

Section 10: algebra -- final exam\ lowest common denominator\ algebra -- fail\ scientist\ summer school\ teacher -- Mrs. O'Leary\ high school\ Navy\ officer|

Section 11: electronic technician\ petty officer\ aircraft carrier\ amateur radio\ transmitter\ radar\ atomic bomb\ special weapons experts\ uranium\ FBI file\ atomic weapons\ Butte mines -- work\ Montana State College\ electrical engineering\ courses -- liberal arts\ courses -- physics|

Section12: fellowship -- Howard Hughes\ California\ traveling wave tubes\ transfer functions\ German Air Force\ Hughes Aircraft\ Cal Tech\ Hughes Research Laboratory\ Watts Riots\ Los Angeles, CA\ University of Arizona, Tucson\ Alaska -- small|

Section 13: Geophysical Institute\ radio wave propagation -- research\ whistler propagation -- research\ Auroral research\ work ethic -- personal\ big science\ Shaw, Glenn -- lone wolf\ arctic haze\ ice crystals\ solar radiation\ meteorology|

Section 14: curiosity -- scientific\ grants -- scientific\ attention deficit disorder\ Japanese scientists\ Japan -- economy\ arctic haze\ chemistry\ physics\ Ron, Kenneth\ meteorological maps\ chemical signatures\ Arctic\ Cornell University\ National Science Foundation (NSF)\ Siberian high\ pollution -- Eurasia\ pollution -- Europe\ copper smelting\ thermodynamics|

Section 15: haze -- layers\ haze -- samples\ nickel\ iron\ cobalt\ uranium\ Eurasia -- industry\ Arctic pollution\ child -- discipline\ marketing skills\ grants -- scientific\ faculty review\ Prospero, Joseph\ external reviews|

Section 16: Shaw, Glenn -- resume\ astrophysics\ meteorology\ atmospheric chemistry\ dimethyl sulfide -- climate\ University of Washington\ Charlson, Bob\ magazine -- Nature\ greenhouse warming -- suspicion\ US economy -- energy based\ plant -- growth\ political viewpoints\ life -- resilience\ climate -- regulation|

Section 17: climate -- stability\ ice ages\ climate -- change\ atmospheric particles\ sun -- wavelength\ optical wave\ World War II\ aluminum foil -- radar wavelength\ aerosol -- 1/2 micron\ sulphur particles\ environmentalists\ South Pole\ Arctic\ Antarctica\ industrial compounds|

Section 18: sulphur aerosols\ human pollution\ scientific inquiry\ light -- scatter\ climatic influence\ clouds -- nuclei\ phytoplankton -- ocean\ organic chemical\ atmospheric chemistry\ sulphur dioxide\ sulphate particle\ biosphere\ whales\ man\ journal -- climatic change\ journal -- Nature\ journal -- Science\ Schneider, Steve\ Roederer, Juan -- Geophysical Institute director|

Section 19: Schneider, Steve\ Roederer, Juan -- Geophysical Institute director\ Swift, Dan -- lawsuit\ professor -- tenured\ Shaw, Glenn -- paper\ science\ nature\ Charlson, Bob\ geophysics\ Hobbs, Peter\ calculus\ hydroynamic flow -- ideas|

Section 20: subliminal mind\ air -- clear\ photo-chemical reactions\ atmosphere\ stars -- magnitude system\ Greeks\ Adriatics\ paleolithic age\ cavemen\ records\ anthropologists\ archaeologists\ Antarctica|

Section 21: Antarctica\ sky transparencies\ particles -- Antarctica\ clouds -- nuclei\ ancient times -- rain\ geology\ hydrological cycle -- ancient times\ sulfates -- particles\ quantum mechanics\ volcanoes -- sulphur\ Radke, Larry\ optical extinction\ Lovelock, Jim\ dimethyl sulfite -- ocean\ fish market -- smell|

Section 22: plankton\ sulphur\ fossil fuel production\ modulates climate\ climate models\ Department of Energy\ scientific question\ research\ science -- comes up little by little|

Section 23: Chapman, Sydney\ achievements\ kinetic theory\ geophysical research\ compass\ magnetic field\ Chapman, Sydney -- started International Geophysical Year (IGY)\ thermal infusion|

Section 24: Chapman, Sydney\ Aurora\ satellites\ Chapman -- allowed his workers to experiment\ 1960's\ 2nd great achievement -- Mather, Keith\ Aurora\ plate tectonics\ solid earth\ meteorology\ National Science Foundation\ Elvey Building|

Section 25: solid earth\ Akasofu, Syun-Ichi\ money -- raised\ people -- hired\ leader -- great\ director's job -- good for a few years\ early space physics research|

Section 26: solid earth geophysics\ Atmospheric Science Program\ remote sensing -- opportunity for the future|