Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Viktor Hambardzumyan

Active Galaxy M87
Hubble image hs-2000-20

A rather humble Hubble image ... a bright spot from which comes some kind of bluish jet. For a layman like me the first question that comes to mind is "so what?"  For I have seen much more impressive Hubble photos like, for example, the world famous image of the Pillars of Creation.

But professionals do know more and understand that in these amazing images humanity is taking a closer look at some of the most fundamental events in God's Creation.

Some understanding of what is happening in this ANG 87 and others like it has been largely made possible by the hard work of one of the brightest minds of the 20th century; a comrade decorated with two Stalin medals and other highest recognitions for scientific achievement possible in Soviet Armenia; a person who is counted among the most influential astrophysicists in the entire world.

Viktor Hambardzumyan

In Russian his name is a bit easier for English speakers to pronounce and sounds almost magically impressive even before we know about his cosmic scale achievements - Viktor Amazaspovich Ambartsumian.

Viktor Hambardzumyan (Septeber 18, 1908, Tbilisi – August 12, 1996, Byurakan)was a Soviet Armenian scientist, and one of the founders of theoretical astrophysics.

He worked in the field of physics of stars and nebulae, stellar astronomy, dynamics of stellar systems and cosmogony of stars and galaxies, contributed to Mathematical physics.

Amabartsumian was the President of the International Astronomical Union from 1961 till 1964, was twice elected the President of the International Council of Scientific Unions (1966–1972), was a member of the USSR Academy of Sciences, and foreign member of the Royal Society,the US National Academy and the Indian Academy of Sciences.

Among his numerous awards are Stalin Prize (1946,1950), Hero of Socialist Labor (1968,1978), State Prize of the Russian Federation, Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, Bruce Gold Medal from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, National Hero of Armenia. Hambardzumyan was the founder of Byurakan Observatory.

Hambardzumyan died in August 1996 in Byurakan and is buried next to the Grand Telescope Tower

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