Building profiles

Akasofu Building

2158 Koyukuk Drive

Akasofu Building

UAF photo by JR Ancheta

The five-story 100,000-square-foot building, which sits on the northwest corner of the West Ridge, opened in 1999. The building houses the International Arctic Research Center and other UAF departments as well as offices for the National Weather Service, several Japanese and U.S. government agencies and the 60,000-volume Keith B. Mather library.

In May 1997, the governments of the United States and Japan, along with the state of Alaska, agreed to establish a research center on the UAF campus as a project of the “Common Agenda,” approved by President Clinton and Japan’s Prime Minister Hashimoto. The U.S.-Japan Common Agenda proposed that both countries cooperate in research on and prediction of global climate change. This includes cooperation at research centers in Alaska and Hawaii. A cooperative agreement between the National Science Foundation and UAF’s IARC took effect in May 2000.

The research center’s primary goals are to study arctic climate change, the global consequences of those changes and to plan and carry out cooperative international arctic research of the highest possible quality. IARC serves as a focal point of excellence for international collaboration and provides the research community with an unprecedented opportunity to share knowledge about science in the Arctic.

The building is named in honor of IARC’s founder, Syun-Ichi Akasofu. A dedication ceremony took place April 27, 2007. Akasofu received his Ph.D. from UAF in 1961 and was a professor of geophysics from 1964 until his retirement in 2007. He served as the director of the Geophysical Institute from 1986 – 1999 and helped to establish the Alaska Volcano Observatory and modernize the Poker Flat Research Range. He is most widely known and recognized for his body of work in auroral studies and global climate change and for his role in establishing IARC as a research institute dedicated to international collaboration and supported by both the U.S. and Japanese governments.

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