GoToAK: What's a typical day or week in your job like?
NR: I write a newsletter for the Geophysical Institute and International Arctic Research Center each week. That's the first deadline. Then I write a science column, about 700 words, that's the second deadline. Then I search for more material for the next week.
GoToAK: Tell us about three scientists, researchers, adventurers, etc. should every Alaskan know about.
NR: It's hard to narrow down a list, because so many have done so much, and the first generation of pioneer scientists are now leaving us. Here's a few that struck me when I read the question:
Keith Echelmeyer - A professor emeritus at the Geophysical Institute who was an amazing mountain climber and small-aircraft pilot. He combined his passions by installing a laser system in his Piper and using it to measure big changes in glaciers. In the early 2000s, he was in Yakutat when he had a seizure that was diagnosed as a brain tumor. That grounded him from flying and slowed a lot of his work, but he's still fighting and still smiling.
Syun-Ichi Akasofu - Former director of both the Geophysical Institute and the International Arctic Research Center. He's a little guy with a big smile who came from Japan to study the aurora in the early 1950s and has been here ever since. With his considerable drive, he got the International Arctic Research Center started in the late 1990s. It's now populated with a group of young scientists who share his enthusiasm.
Dave Klein -A biologist in Fairbanks and my neighbor and friend. He's 83 now and bikes and skis in to work at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He's always finding the wonder of it all, like yesterday when he plucked a twinflower and handed it to my daughter.
Is there anything else that you feel people should know about you or your work? I don't know if people realize how unusual it is for UAF's Geophysical Institute to have subsidized the science column since the late 1970s. The institute has not seen a monetary return on it since scientist Neil Davis established the column as a way to answer people's questions about science, but every director has supported it, including the current leader, Roger Smith. In 15 years, I have never once been ordered to write about something. That freedom has allowed me to cover not only our scientists, but scientists from all over Alaska as well and sometimes history and natural history. I really appreciate that autonomy, and it has made the column more readable.
Look for Rozell's weekly column on GoToAK.com.