Akira Kasahara

Location of Interview
Collection Name

UCAR/NCAR Oral History Collection


The NCAR/UCAR Oral History Project documents the history of NCAR/UCAR through interviews, recorded discussions, and lectures by staff and others.  The project initially had a strong focus on the creation and   development of NCAR, including the design and construction of the Mesa Laboratory headquarters by I.M. Pei. Over the years, the project has expanded to include a wider range of topics and experiences within NCAR/UCAR history.

For more information, visit archives.ucar.edu or email archives@ucar.edu.

Date of Interview

National Capital Contracting

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Akira Kasahara is a renowned climate modeler who has made significant contributions to the field of atmospheric science. He has been associated with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) for a considerable period, where he has been instrumental in developing and improving climate models. Dr. Kasahara's research experience spans over a decade, during which he has led and mentored several young scientists, including Warren Washington, a fresh Ph.D. graduate from Penn State. His collaborative work with Washington lasted for nearly a decade, during which they worked on the general circulation modeling at NCAR. Dr. Kasahara also collaborated with David Williamson from MIT, who was interested in modeling and worked on improving the model. Dr. Kasahara's work is characterized by his ability to manage long-term projects, often taking several years to complete, and his knack for keeping the organization satisfied by simultaneously working on different subjects.

Scope and Content Note
The interview with Dr. Akira Kasahara, conducted by Stuart Leslie from Johns Hopkins University, primarily focuses on the interaction between architecture and laboratory work, specifically in the context of NCAR. The discussion begins with a quotation from Roberts' papers, emphasizing the need for scientists to make the laboratory their own for it to function effectively. Dr. Kasahara agrees with this sentiment, highlighting the importance of autonomy in scientific research. The conversation then shifts to Dr. Kasahara's collaborations with Warren Washington and David Williamson on general circulation modeling and model improvement, respectively. The interview also touches upon the challenges of managing long-term projects, the need for producing quick results to keep the organization satisfied, and the broad topic of dynamical aspects of atmospheric circulations. Towards the end, Dr. Kasahara shares his views on the functionality of the NCAR building, stating that he finds it superior to other buildings he has seen at NOAA, NIST, university engineering, and some federal offices.

Copyright Information: Copyright University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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