Armenian Astronomer Awarded NASA Lifetime Achievement Award
NEW YORK—Dr. Yervant Terzian, the David C. Duncan Professor in the Physical Sciences, Department of Astronomy, Cornell University, was awarded to NASA Lifetime Achievement Award last month. He is one of the prominent modern astronomers, known in the fields of physics of the interstellar medium, planetary nebulae, galaxies, radio astronomy, and others.
He is one of the Armenian Astronomical Society Co-Presidents and the Chairman of the Research Council of Armenian National Science and Education Fund.
Terzian was born on February 9, 1939, in Alexandria, Egypt. His father was an Armenian and his mother, a Greek; hence, having Armenian-Greek origin, Terzian is considered both as a great Armenian and Greek astronomer. He finished the Kalousdian Armenian School in Cairo, then studied at the American University also in Cairo, and in 1960, he received the B.Sc. from the Physics/Mathematics Department of this University. Then he moved to the USA and in 1963 he received his M.Sc. and later on, in 1965, his Ph.D. degrees in Astronomy from the Indiana University.
Since 1965, Terzian’s research and teaching is connected to the Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. In 1965-1967, he was a research associate at the Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico; in 1967-1972: Assistant Professor of Astronomy; in 1968-1974: Assistant Director of the Center for Radiophysics and Space Research of the same University; in 1972-1977: Associate Professor of Astronomy; in 1973-1974: Visiting Professor of Astronomy at the University of Montreal, Canada; in 1974 (Feb-July): Visiting Professor of Astronomy at the University of Thessaloniki, Greece; in 1974-1979: Graduate Faculty Representative, Astronomy and Space Sciences, Cornell University; and since 1977 he is Professor of Astronomy at Cornell University.
Prof. Terzian’s scientific fields are quite broad: from planetary nebulae (PNe) and pulsars to galaxy pairs and quasars. His studies have been carried out mainly in radio, however many papers are devoted to IR, optical, and UV observations as well. Among his largest studies and most important results one would mention:
The Armenian National Science and Education Fund (ANSEF) was established in 1999, in New York City, by a group of Armenian academic and other intellectuals, Yervant Terzian among them. ANSEF provides peer reviewed research awards to support scientific, technological and scholarly research. Since the beginning, ANSEF Research Council is chaired by Prof. Terzian. During 2001-2008, grants to about 200 projects have been awarded, USD 5000 to each. Altogether, more than 500 senior and junior scientists and scholars have benefited from this support. In the field of astronomy and astrophysics, ANSEF has supported 24 projects involving more than 60 scientists from BAO and Yerevan State University.
The Armenian Astronomical Society (ArAS) also was established in 1999, however officially registered in 2001. Since the beginning, Prof. Terzian was one of the initiators and active members of ArAS. In 2002, during the first annual meeting, there was a decision to have three Co-Presidents; Prof. Terzian was elected one of them and since then is an ArAS Co-President. He strongly supports the existence and activities of the Society and plays an important role in contacts between astronomers living in Armenia and abroad. In 2004, Terzian established the ArAS Annual Prize for Young Astronomers and since then sponsors it. Fourteen young scientists have received this prize, which we could call “Yervant Terzian prize.”