Professor Yoshi Sasaki, George Lynn Cross Research Professor Emeritus of the School of Meteorology has been named an Honorary Member of the American Meteorological Society. Honorary Members are considered persons of acknowledged preeminence in the atmospheric or related oceanic or hydrologic sciences, either through their own contributions to the sciences or their application or through furtherance of the advance of those sciences in some other way. This high honor has only been obtained by one other faculty member of the School of Meteorology, Professor Doug Lilly. In winning this award, Dr. Sasaki joins many of the giants in the field of meteorology, including Bjerknes, Bergeron, Palmen, Simpson, Kolmogorov, Smagorinsky, Fujita, Mason, Suomi, Hobbs, Browning, Byers, Braham, Rasmussen, Lorenz, Businger, Krishnamurti and a list of others who have touched the field in a variety of ways.
Born in Akita, Japan, Yoshi K. Sasaki earned a Ph.D. in Science from Tokyo University in 1955. Professor Sasaki emigrated to the United States after World War II. In 1960, Professor Sasaki moved to the University of Oklahoma and joined up with Walt Saucier to help found the OU meteorology program. Professor Sasaki became the School of Meteorology's first George Lynn Cross Research Professor in 1974, and continues to hold the title as Emeritus Professor.
Professor Sasaki was an early proponent of applying variational calculus techniques to data assimilation. This allows a better derivation of initial conditions needed for computer simulations utilized for numerical weather prediction. These techniques are currently applied in some form at all operational weather prediction centers around the world. Thus, Professor Sasaki's research continues to benefit citizens of the world on a daily basis.
In addition to his stellar academic career, Professor Sasaki's contacts in Japan have helped to bring high-tech industries like Hitachi to Oklahoma, and also helped to attract a number of distinguished professors and scientists from Asia. Although he became a citizen of the United States in 1974, he still holds the title "Honorary Consul General of Japan." Professor Sasaki was inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame in 2004.