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Albert "Al" Belon
Born in Gap, France in 1930, Albert "Al" Belon grew up during World War II and the German occupation. After his first year of college, Al came to Fairbanks in April 1949 to continue his education and graduated three years later with a degree in physics, while working part-time at the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). He went on to receive his master's degree in physics from UCLA in 1954. He and his wife, Shirley, returned to Fairbanks in 1956, and he returned to work at the Geophysical Institute during the International Geophysical Year. From 1968 to 1970, Al was a visiting professor at the National Science Foundation in Washington, DC, where he coordinated U.S. scientific solar eclipse research during spring 1969, and earned a Meritorious Service Award for his efforts. In 1974, he received the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement. In 1976, Al was appointed associate director of the Geophysical Institute and was a well-respected professor and administrator. His interests and activities ranged from aeronomy and magnetosphetic research to the development of a university-wide interdisciplinary program of applications of remote-sensing. Al retired in 1984, and in 2000 he participated in the morning and afternoon storytelling sessions at the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and shared some of his memories of working there in the early years. Al Belon passed away in 2013 at age 83.