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Ten years on: The Matsushita travel fund comes full circle

Thanks to the generosity of a late HAO scientist's family, 11 graduate students were saved from having to scrounge for funds to attend scientific meetings. On 13 September, HAO celebrated the success of the Sadami Matsushita Memorial Fund by inviting its benefactors and beneficiaries to a tenth-anniversary wrap-up party at the Foothills Lab.

Matsushita, known to staff by his nickname Dr. Mat, visited HAO in 1955 and was invited to join the fledgling lab shortly thereafter. He spent the next three decades at HAO building an international reputation as a scrupulous scientist and a prolific publisher. "Many times I have gone to him for help when I couldn't understand a paper or talk on aeronomy or geomagnetism," recalled HAO and NCAR founding director Walt Roberts after Mat's death in March 1984. "He was never too busy to give help, and in his critical but gentle way, he would tell me what he thought was right or wrong about the matter I was trying to comprehend."

In 1986, Mat's wife, Kyoko, and sons, Hiromi and Hidemi, established the travel fund, enabling graduate students within HAO to attend scientific meetings, workshops, and colloquia to interact with colleagues and present results of their research. The family donated $1,000 per year during the ten-year life of the fund.

HAO kept a log of the participating students, noting the trips funded and the benefits gained. The log was presented to the Matsushita family by HAO director Michael Knölker as part of a scrapbook assembled by administrative assistant Veda Emmett. "We also included some of the original letters of appreciation that were received when a book of Dr. Matsushita's writings was compiled," Veda says. The editor of that book, Wally Campbell, a long-time scientist for the U.S. Geological Survey and NOAA, was on hand for the party. Also in attendance were four of the last five HAO directors. "We also had some former HAO staff from the 1950s and 60s," says Veda. Bob MacQueen, director of HAO when the fund was established, provided the group with some professional and personal reminiscences about Mat. •BH

(All photos by Carlye Calvin.)

Five of the 11 students who benefited from the Matsushita travel fund were on hand for the party on 13 September. In front of them are Hiromi, Kyoko, and Hidemi Matsushita. At back, from left to right, with the years they received travel support and their present affiliations:
Mihail Codrescu (1988), NOAA Space Environment Center
Cherilynn Morrow (1987-88), University of Colorado Space Science Institute
Chris Halvorson (1990), NCAR/ACD
Aaron Ridley (1996), NCAR/HAO
Bifford Williams (1995-96), NCAR/HAO Others supported by the fund:
Graham Murphy (1987), Johns Hopkins University
Joel Van Baelen (1988, 1990), MeteoFrance
Jesper Schou (1992), Stanford University
Scott Horner (1992), Pennsylvania State University
Rony Keppens (1993-94), FOM Institute for Plasma Physics, Rijnhuizen, the Netherlands
Farzad Kamalabadi (1995), Boston University

Shortly after presenting a scrapbook to Kyoko Matsushita (far right), Michael Knölker (far left) shakes hands with Hiromi Matsushita. Second from left is Hiromi's brother, Hidemi.

All in one room: HAO directors Peter Gilman (1987-89), Michael Knölker (1995-present), and Robert MacQueen (1980-86). John Firor (1961-68) was at the reception before the picture-taking commenced. Tom Holzer (1990-95) is at Rhodes College on a teaching sabbatical.

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Prepared by Jacque Marshall, jacque@ucar.edu, 303-497-8616