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|Alma mater||Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan (B.A., 1953; M.S., 1957), University of Alaska Fairbanks (Ph.D., 1961)|
|Known for||Space physics, Aurora research|
|Awards||Chapman 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|
|Institutions||University of Alaska Fairbanks|
|Thesis||A study of magnetic storms and auroras|
|Doctoral advisor||Sydney 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.
- 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
- 1976 - Chapman Medal, Royal Astronomical Society
- 1977 - The Japan Academy of Sciences Award
- 1979 - Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU)
- 1979 - John Adam Fleming Medal, AGU
- 1980 - Named a Distinguished Alumnus by UAF
- 1981 - Named one of the "1,000 Most-Cited Contemporary Scientists by Current Contents
- 1985 - First recipient of the Sydney Chapman Chair professorship, UAF
- 1985 - Special Lecture for the Emperor of Japan on the aurora (October 3)
- 1986 - Member of the International Academy of Aeronautics, Paris
- 1987 - Named one of the "Centennial Alumni" by the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges
- 1993 - Japan Foreign Minister's Award for Promoting International Relations and Cultural Exchange between Japan and Alaska
- 1996 - Japan Posts and Telecommunications Minister Award for Contributions to the US-Japan Joint Project on Environmental Science in Alaska
- 1997 - Edith R. Bullock Prize for Excellence, University of Alaska
- 1999 - Alaskan of the Year - Denali Award
- 2002 - Named one of the "World's Most Cited Authors in Space Physics" by Current Contents ISI
- 2003 - Order of the Sacred Treasures, Gold and Silver Stars by the Emperor of Japan
- 2011 - European Geosciences Union, Hannes Alfvén Medal