Jack B. Townshend: 50 years of service



There is little doubt that magnetograms recorded on the campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks from the 1940s on are the most widely used magnetograms in the world. What made their wide use possible was the fact that any researcher who wanted these “college magnetograms” on any specific day or for any specific period could invariably get them, and it is Jack Townshend who accomplished this incredible record of dependable data collection.

Townshend became interested in magnetic observatory work watching his father at the Cheltenham Magnetic Observatory near Washington, D.C., and officially succeeded his father in the job in 1947. He came to the University of Alaska Fairbanks as chief of the college observatory in 1963. Since then he has been responsible for the most reliable operation of the magnetic observatories at the university and Barrow.