Victor Ambartsumian (1908-1996)

 

Victor Amazasp Ambartsumian was born in September 18, 1908 , in Tbilisi . After the graduation of the Leningrad (Saint-Petersburg) University and post-graduate studentship in Pulkovo Observatory, he founded in the University the first department of astrophysics in the Soviet Union . In 1943 V.A.Ambartsumian was one of the founding members of the Armenian Academy of Sciences and its vice-president. Soon, in 1947, he became the president of the Academy, and since 1993 he was its honorary president.

 

In 1946 the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory of the Academy of Sciences of Armenia was founded. Since the first days till 1988 V.A.Ambartsumian was the director and scientific leader of the Byurakan Observatory. And since 1988 he was its honorary director. Thanks to Ambartsumianís and his colleaguesí works it became one of the known observatories in the world. Ambartsumianís works are distinguished in perfection and almost every time opened new directions in astrophysics. His works on physics of gaseous nebulae and radiation transfer theory are classic. They played important role in this field, in particular, in the theory of multiple light scattering. The invariance principle, formulated in these works for the first time, had a wide application in a number of other fields of the science. Ambartsumianís investigations on the problem of stellar evolution brought in 1947 to revealing of stellar systems of new type - stellar associations. The existence of stellar associations in the Galaxy, dynamically non-stable and disintegrating systems, was the first observational evidence in favour of continuing at present star-formation in it. Ambartsumianput forward a hypothesisaboutthejointoriginofthe diffuse matter and starsofdensematterofunknown nature - protostars. Ambartsumianís studies of early stages of evolution of stars and stellar systems are rather significant. It was shown, that in the early stages of the evolution, the instability of state reveals itself, being the regular phase of the cosmogonic processes. Among these results the conclusions about the existenceofstellar systemsofpositivetotalenergyin the Galaxy, non-thermalnatureofultravioletstellarradiation of T Tauritypeandflare stars, are to be mentioned. New principle results were achieved by V.A.Ambartsumian in study of evolution of galaxies.It was shown for the first time, that the central regions of galaxies - their nuclei, play decisive role inthe phenomena of instability, observed in galaxies. Besides the stars and diffuse matter they must contain dense massive bodies of unknown nature. The activity of galactic nuclei defines their evolution. At present the active galactic nuclei (AGN) are the most intensively studied objects in extragalactic astronomy.

Ambartsumian has carried out some other investigations of great importance in astrophysics as well, such as the study of interstellar absorbing matter in the Galaxy (the idea ofitsraggedstructure,the theory of fluctuations of light of the Milky Way), works on stellar dynamics (establishing of the base ofnew, statistical mechanics of stellar systems), statistical investigations of flare stars, and others. Ambartsumian was an outstanding organizer of science, who significantly promoted the international scientific cooperation.In 1948-1955 he was the vice-president, and in 1961-64 - the president of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), in 1968 and 1970 he was twice elected the president of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU). His many-sided activity accepted high estimate. He was awarded governmental prizes, orders and medals of a number of countries (Twice Hero of Socialist Labour in 1968 and 1978, USSR State Prizes in 1946 and 1950, Russian State Prize in 1995, National Hero of Armenia in 1994), gold medals of a number of academies and scientific societies. He was elected honorary and foreignmemberof 28 Academies of Sciences, including USA, UK, France, Italy, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Greece, Czechoslovakia, India, Argentina, andother National Academies, honorary member of scientific societies of many countries, honorary doctor of theUniversities of Canberra (Australia), La Plata (Argentina), Warsaw and Torun (Poland), Praha (Czechoslovakia), Liege(Belgium) and Sorbonne (France).V.A.Ambartsumian has published about 20booksand booklets, morethan 200 scientific papers, numerous popular articles.

Victor A. Ambartsumian passed away in August 12, 1996 in Byurakan. He will remain forever as oneofthe most outstanding scientists of the XX century.

 

V.A.AMBARTSUMIANíS ACHIEVEMENTS, HONOURS and AWARDS

 

1931-1932††† †††† Scientific Secretary of the Pulkovo Observatory

1931-1934††† †††† Lecturer of astrophysics of the Leningrad State University

1934†††††††† ††††††† Professor of the Leningrad State University

1934-1946††† †††† Head of the first in the Soviet Union department of astrophysics, founded in the Leningrad State University

1935†††††††† ††††††† Awarded the scientific degree of doctor of physical-mathematical sciences without defense of dissertation

1937-1944††† †††† Scientific head of the Yerevan Astronomical Observatory

1939†††††††† ††††††† Corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences

1939-1941††† †††† Director of the astronomical observatory of the Leningrad State University

1940†††††††† ††††††† Member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

1940†††††††† ††††††† Title of Honored Scientist of the Armenian SSR

1941-1943††† †††† Pro-rector of the Leningrad State University on scientific affairs and head of scientific-research branch of University, evacuated to Yelabuga (Tatar ASSR)

1943†††††††† ††††††† Founding member of the newly organized Armenian SSR Academy of Sciences

1943†††††††† ††††††† Full member of the Armenian SSR Academy of Sciences

1943-1947††† †††† Vice-President of the Armenian SSR Academy of Sciences

1944†††††††† ††††††† Labour Red Banner Order for outstanding services in preparing astronomy specialists and on the occasion of 125th anniversary of the Leningrad University

1944-1994††† †††† Head of the newly founded department of astrophysics of the Yerevan State University

1944-1946††† †††† Director of the Yerevan Astrophysical Observatory of the Armenian SSR Academy of Sciences

1944†††††††† ††††††† Chairman of the Astronomical Commission of the USSR Academy of Sciences

1944-1959††† †††† Editor-in-chief of the journal "Reports of the Armenian SSR Academy of Sciences"

1944-1979††† †††† Member of the editorial board of the "Astronomical journal" of the USSR Academy of Sciences

1945†††††††† ††††††† Lenin Order for outstanding services in development of science & engineering and on occasion of 220th anniversary of the USSR Academy of Sciences

1946†††††††† ††††††† USSR State prize for creation of new theory of light scattering in turbid medium

1946-1988††† †††† Director of the newly founded Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory of the Armenian SSR Academy of Sciences†††††††††††††††††††

1946-1985††† †††† Editor-in-chief of the "Communications of the Byurakan Observatory"

1946†††††††† ††††††† Member of the International Astronomical Union (IAU)

1947†††††††† ††††††† Honorary member of the American Astronomical Society (AAS)

1947†††††††† ††††††† Professor of the Yerevan State University

1947-1951††† †††† Deputy of the Armenian SSR Supreme Soviet

1947-1956††† †††† Chairman of the Editorial-Publishing council of the Armenian SSR Academy of Sciences

1947-1972††† †††† Member of the Committee on Lenin and USSR State prizes in the field of science and engineering at the USSR Council of Ministers

1947-1993††† †††† President of the Armenian SSR Academy of Sciences

1947†††††††† ††††††† Chairman of the "Knowledge" society administration of the Armenian SSR

1948-1955††† †††† Vice-President of the International Astronomical Union (IAU)

1948†††††††† ††††††† Member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Armenian SSR

1949-1953††† †††† Chairman of the Armenian Republican Committee of defenders of peace

1950†††††††† ††††††† USSR State prize for the discovery and study of new type of stellar systems ("Stellar associations") (together with B.E.Markarian)

1950†††††††† ††††††† Deputy of the USSR Supreme Soviet

1952-1964††† †††† Chairman of the Committee on cosmogony of the USSR Academy of Sciences

1953†††††††† ††††††† Labour Red Banner Order for prolonged meritorious service and unexceptionable work

1953†††††††† ††††††† Full member of the USSR Academy of Sciences

1953†††††††† ††††††† Honorary member of the Royal Astronomical Society (Great Britain)

1953†††††††† ††††††† Corresponding member of the Royal Society (Academy of sciences) of Belgium (Liege)

1955†††††††† ††††††† Member of the Presidium of the USSR Academy of Sciences

1956†††††††† ††††††† Corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of Austria

1956†††††††† ††††††† Jansen medal of the French Astronomical Society for scientific services

1957†††††††† ††††††† Corresponding member of the German Academy of Sciences in Berlin

1957†††††††† ††††††† Foreign Honorary member of the American Academy of Sciences and Arts (Boston)

1958†††††††† ††††††† Lenin Order for outstanding services in the field of development of astronomy and on the occasion of his 50th anniversary

1958†††††††† ††††††† Corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of France

1959†††††††† ††††††† Member of the USA National Academy of Sciences

1959†††††††† ††††††† Member of the German Academy of naturalists "Leopoldina" (Halle)

1959†††††††† ††††††† Honorary member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada

1959†††††††† ††††††† Catarine Brus gold medal of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (California, USA) for outstanding services in the field of astronomy

1960†††††††† ††††††† Gold Medal of the Great Britain Royal Astronomical Society for works in the field of theoretical astrophysics and stellar astronomy

1960†††††††† ††††††† Medal "For labour valour"

1961-1964††† †††† President of the International Astronomical Union (IAU)

1963†††††††† ††††††† Title of Honorary Doctor (honoris causa) of the Australian National University (Canberra)

1964-1987†††††† Editor-in-Chief of the newly founded journal "Astrofizika"

1965†††††††† ††††††† Title of Honorary Doctor (honoris causa) of the Paris (Sorbonne) University as a recognition of services to world science

1966†††††††† ††††††† Member of Executive Committee of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU)

1967†††††††† ††††††† Title of Honorary Doctor (honoris causa) of the Liege University (Belgium)

1967†††††††† ††††††† Title of Honorary Doctor (honoris causa) of the Carlov (Praha) University (Czechoslovakia)

1967†††††††† ††††††† Member of the Italian National Academy of Sciences "Dei Lincei"

1967†††††††† ††††††† Chairman of the editorial board and scientific-publishing council of the first "Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia"

1968†††††††† ††††††† Title of the Hero of Socialist Labour with investiture of Lenin Order and Gold medal "Hammer and sickle" for great services in the development of astronomical science and on the occasion of his 60th anniversary

1968†††††††† ††††††† Title of Honoured Scientist of the Georgian SSR

1968-1972††† †††† President of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) (two periods)

1969†††††††† ††††††† Cyrill & Mefodiy Order of I degree by Presidium of the People's Assembly of the People's Republic of Bulgaria for successes in development of science

1969†††††††† ††††††† Honorary member of the London Royal Society (Great Britain Academy of sciences)

1969††††††† †††††††† Honorary member of the Cambridge Philosophical Society (England)

1970†††††††† ††††††† S.I.Vavilov medal by the Presidium of Administration of All-Union society "Knowledge" for services in popularization of political and scientific knowledge

1970†††††††† ††††††† Member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences

1970†††††††† ††††††† Gold medal of the Slovak Academy of Sciences for outstanding scientific and social activity and for services to humanity

1970†††††††† ††††††† Chairman of the Committee of the Armenian SSR State prizes in the field of science and engineering at the Armenian SSR Council of Ministers

1971†††††††† ††††††† Member of the Royal Academy of Sciences of Denmark

1971†††††††† ††††††† Helmholz medal by the German Academy of Sciences in Berlin (GDR) for successes in the field of natural sciences

1971†††††††† ††††††† The highest award of the Academy - M.V.Lomonosov Gold medal by the Presidium of the USSR Academy of Sciences for outstanding achievements in the field of astronomy and astrophysics†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

1972†††††††† ††††††† Honorary member of the Azerbaijan SSR Academy of Sciences

1973†††††††† ††††††† Honorary member of the Royal Academy of Sciences of Sweden

1973†††††††† ††††††† Order of "Service" of the 3rd degree by the Government of Poland for outstanding scientific services

1973†††††††† ††††††† Title of Honorary Doctor (honoris causa) of the Nicolaus Copernic Torun University (Poland)

1973†††††††† ††††††† Honorary member of the New-York Academy of Sciences

1974†††††††† ††††††† Foreign member of the Academy of Sciences of Bulgaria

1974†††††††† ††††††† Title of Honorary Doctor (honoris causa) of the La-Plata University (Argentina)

1974†††††††† ††††††† Kotenius Gold medal by the German Academy of naturalists ("Leopoldina") in Halle (GDR)

1974†††††††† ††††††† Foreign member of the Cordoba (Argentina) Academy of Sciences

1974†††††††† ††††††† Sarmiento medal by the Cordoba (Argentina) Academy of Sciences for scientific and pedagogical services

1974†††††††† ††††††† Chairman of the United Scientific Council on astronomy of the USSR Academy of Sciences

1974†††††††† ††††††† Lenin Order for scientific services on the occasion of 250th anniversary of the USSR Academy of Sciences

1975†††††††† ††††††† Order of "Banner" of the Hungarian People's Republic

1976†††††††† ††††††† Foreign member of the Academy of Sciences of India

1976†††††††† ††††††† Member of the Editorial board of the "Reports of the USSR Academy of Sciences"

1978†††††††† ††††††† Foreign member of the Academy of Sciences of Czechoslovakia

1978†††††††† ††††††† Foreign member (Associe etranger) of the Academy of Sciences of France

1978†††††††† ††††††† Lenin Order and second Gold medal "Hammer and sickle" of the Hero of Socialist Labour for outstanding services in the development of the Soviet science and on the occasion of his 70th anniversary

1978†††††††† ††††††† Honorary member of the Academy of Sciences of the Georgian SSR

1978†††††††† ††††††† Corresponding member of the International Academy of Astronautics

1979†††††††† ††††††† Honorary member of the Academy of Sciences of Hungary

1982†††††††† ††††††† Honorary citizen of Tbilisi (Georgia)

1983†††††††† ††††††† Foreign member of the Academy of Sciences of Athens (Greece)

1983†††††††† ††††††† "October Revolution" Order for scientific services and on the occasion of his 75th anniversary

1984†††††††† ††††††† Gold medal of the Academy of Sciences of Czechoslovakia for scientific services

1984†††††††† ††††††† Deputy of the USSR Supreme Soviet

1984†††††††† ††††††† Foreign member of the Syrian Scientific Society (Academy of sciences)

1988†††††††† ††††††† Honorary director of the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory

1992†††††††† ††††††† Full member of the European Academy (London)

1992†††††††† ††††††† Full member of the Russian Academy of Creation

1993†††††††† ††††††† Honorary President of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences

1994†††††††† ††††††† Counsellor of the Russian Academy of Sciences

1994†††††††† ††††††† Motherland Order and title of "National Hero of Armenia" for creation of scientific values of international significance, exceptional services in the field of organization of science

1994†††††††† ††††††† George Gamov prize and medal of the Russian Academy of Creation for outstanding contribution in the development of astrophysics

1994†††††††† ††††††† Annual national prize of the All-Armenian Foundation "Hayastan" in the field of science and culture

1995†††††††† ††††††† State prize of the Russian Federation in the field of science and engineering for the scientific work "Dynamics of the structure of stellar systems"

1996†††††††††††††† Member of the Euro-Asian Astronomical Society (EAAS)†††††††††††††††