Dr. Juan Roederer and his wife, Beatriz, celebrate their 60th anniversary on Dec. 20, 2012.
Juan and Beatriz were born in Europe 250 miles and two weeks apart; met in Buenos Aires, Argentina; became high-school sweethearts; studied physics together at the local university and graduated two days before their wedding.
Both were among the first scientists employed by the Argentine Atomic Energy Commission. In 1956, Juan was appointed to a faculty position at the University of Buenos Aires and in 1962, became director of the Argentine National Cosmic Ray Center. Their four children, Ernesto, Irene, Silvia and Mario were born in Buenos Aires.
In 1966, after the couple returned with their children from two years in the United States, where Juan had been working at NASA and the Air Force Weapons Laboratory with a senior research fellowship of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, a military coup brought the constitutional government in Argentina to a sudden end, causing mass resignations among the faculty. Juan came under personal political fire from the military regime and decided to emigrate to the United States with his family, including his parents and mother-in-law. They settled in Colorado, where Juan took up a professorship at the University of Denver in March 1967.
Juan and Beatriz moved to Fairbanks in September 1977, where Juan was appointed director of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute. Beatriz became actively involved in local organizations, including the Symphony Guild, the League of Women Voters, the Fairbanks Concert Association and Christ Lutheran Church.
After his directorship, Juan was appointed chairman of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission by President Reagan. He was also chairman of the Advisory Committee on Earth and Space Sciences of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Distinguished Visiting Professor at Rhodes University, South Africa. Since his retirement in 1993, he continues research work at the Geophysical Institute as emeritus professor.
Recently, Juan and Beatriz traveled to California for a family reunion to celebrate their impending anniversary with their four children and four grandchildren. Afterward, they visited Argentina to celebrate with Beatriz’ extended family in Buenos Aires.