Syun-Ichi Akasofu

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Syun-Ichi Akasofu
Ted Stevens at International Arctic Research Center.jpg
Akasofu (left), with then-U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (center), Katey Walter (second from right), Larry Hinzman (back left), Tohru Saito (back right) in 2008
Born (1930-12-04) December 4, 1930 (age 90)
Alma materTohoku University, Sendai, Japan (B.A., 1953; M.S., 1957), University of Alaska Fairbanks (Ph.D., 1961)
Known forSpace physics, Aurora research
AwardsChapman Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, Fellow of the AGU, John Adam Fleming Medal of the AGU, Edith R. Bullock Prize for Excellence of the University of Alaska, and Order of the Sacred Treasures, Gold and Silver Stars by the Emperor of Japan
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Alaska Fairbanks
ThesisA study of magnetic storms and auroras
Doctoral advisorSydney Chapman

Syun-Ichi Akasofu (赤祖父 俊一, Akasofu Shun'ichi, born December 4, 1930, Saku, Nagano, Japan) is the founding director of the International Arctic Research Center of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), serving in that position from the center's establishment in 1998 until January 2007. Previously he had been director of the university's Geophysical Institute from 1986.


Akasofu earned a B.S. and a M.S. in geophysics at Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan, in 1953 and 1957, respectively. He earned a Ph.D in geophysics at UAF in 1961. Within the framework of his Ph.D. thesis he studied the aurora. His scientific adviser was Sydney Chapman. Akasofu has been a professor of geophysics at UAF since 1964.

Akasofu was director of the Geophysical Institute from 1986 until 1999, during which time the Alaska Volcano Observatory was established and Poker Flat Research Range was modernized. He went on to become the first director of the International Arctic Research Center (IARC) upon its establishment in 1998, and remained in that position until 2007. The same year, the building which houses IARC was named in his honor.

Akasofu has served as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Geophysical Research (1972–74) and the Journal of Geomagnetism & Geoelectricity (1972–present), respectively. Furthermore, he has served as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Planetary Space Science (1969–present), the Editorial Advisory Board of Space Science Reviews (1967–77), and the Editorial Committee of Space Science Reviews (1977–present). As a graduate student, Akasofu was one of the first to understand that the northern aurora was actually an aurora of light surrounding the North Magnetic Pole.[1]

Selected publications[edit]

He is an ISI highly cited researcher.[2]

  • Akasofu, S.-I., Polar and Magnetospheric Substorms, D. Reidel Pub. Co., Dordrecht, Holland, 1968, (also a Russian edition).
  • Akasofu, S.-I., B. Fogle, and B. Haurwitz, Sydney Chapman, Eighty, published by the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the Publishing Service of the University of Colorado, 1968.
  • Akasofu, S.-I. and S. Chapman, Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Clarendon Press, Oxford, England, 1972, (also a Russian and Chinese edition).
  • Akasofu, S.-I., The Aurora: A Discharge Phenomenon Surrounding the Earth, (in Japanese), Chuo-koran- sha, Tokyo, Japan.
  • Akasofu, S.-I., Physics of Magnetospheric Substorms, D. Reidel, Pub. Co., Dordrecht, Holland, 1977.
  • Akasofu, S.-I., Aurora Borealis: The Amazing Northern Lights, Alaska Geographic Society, Alaska Northwest Pub. Co., 6, 2, 1979, (also a Japanese edition).
  • Akasofu, S.-I. (ed.), Dynamics of the Magnetosphere, D. Reidel Pub. Co., Dordrecht, Holland, 1979.
  • Akasofu, S.-I. and J.R. Kan (eds.), Physics of Auroral Arc Formation, Am. Geophys. Union, Washington, D.C., 1981.
  • Akasofu, S.-I. and Y. Kamide (eds.), The Solar Wind and the Earth, Geophys. Astrophys. Monographs, Terra Scientific Pub. Co., Tokyo, Japan, and D. Reidel Pub. Co., Dordrecht, Holland, 1987.
  • Akasofu, S.-I., Secrets of the Aurora Borealis, Alaska Geographic Society, Banta Publications Group/Hart Press, Vol. 29, No. 1, 2002.
  • Akasofu, S.-I. Exploring the Secrets of the Aurora, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Netherlands, 2002.

Awards and honors[edit]


  1. ^ "NASA - The History of Auroral Substorms". NASA. 23 April 2006. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  2. ^ highly cited author: ISI Rating: Highly Cited Archived 2007-05-19 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Edith R. Bullock Prize for Excellence Recipients | University of Alaska Foundation".

External links[edit]