Gabriel KOJOYAN (1927-1998)


Doctor Gabriel Kojoyan is one of the outstanding Diaspora Armenian astronomers and well-known American radio-astronomers of the 20th century. He has a serious contribution in astrophysics, as well as in astronomical instrument-making.


Gabriel Kojoyan was born on December 11, 1927 in Providence (Rhode Island, USA). He was Harry and Nazley (Petikian) Kojoyans’ son. He graduated from Brown University (1952) getting bachelor’s degree in the field of electrical engineering. Later in 1957 he graduated from Rhode-Island University getting master’s degree in the field of nuclear physics. He lived in the state of Wisconsin for 22 years, later he moved to California. He got a doctorate of sciences in physics (1966, University of California, Berkeley). Kojoyan worked in Tracerlab (1966-1967), at NASA Ames (1967-1968), at the University of Massachusetts (1969-1971), at the Technical Institute of Massachusetts (MIT, 1972-1973) and at Pahlavi University of Shiraz in Iran (1975-1976). In 1976 and 1978 as a visiting professor he also worked at the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory under V.A. Ambartsumian’s supervision, investigating Markarian galaxies. Since 1978 he has worked at Eau Claire University of Wisconsin; he was a professor of physics and astronomy. He was one of the favorite lecturers; he was especially known for his enthusiasm and often for non-traditional approach to the subject.


Kojoyan’s scientific interests refer to the extragalactic and galactic radio astronomy, which was the primary field of his researches. Other fields of his researches were the physics of elementary particles, solar physics and non-linear optics. During the last years of his life he also worked on the problem of quantum points at the centre of Optical Sciences of the University of Arizona.


He initiated, projected and constructed a coordinate measuring device of great exactness in common with his group at Eau Claire. In particular, that device measured the exact positions of hundreds of galaxies, which were later observed in Green Bank and Arecibo. These works were published in the American high-ranked Astronomical Journal. Kojoyan managed the realization of projects of a number of other devices. One of his significant works was the coordinate measuring of Markarian galaxies, which was realized in common with Byurakan astronomers. And before his death he took the initiative of the project in measuring the coordinates of objects of the Second Byurakan Survey as well. Kojoyan’s scientific works always brought forth spacious projects where his pupils could also be included and have a success. He often helped his students with his own resources. At present Kojoyan’s pupils are well-known professors and scientists of numerous American universities and research institutes.


Kojoyan has traveled to many places of the world due to his works; from Canada to Peru and from Europe to Middle East, published many scientific works.


Kojoyan was a member of American Astronomical Society. He was a member of the Union for Armenian Relief and Armenian Youth Union in Providence and Boston as well.


Gabriel Kojoyan passed away on May 17, 1998 at the age of 70, being a victim of heart attack. Kojoyan was also known as a very honest, human, friendly person with a sense of humor.