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 Ambartsumian’s and his colleagues’ works it became one of the known observatories in the world. Ambartsumian’s 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. Ambartsumian’s 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. Ambartsumian  put forward a hypothesis  about  the  joint  origin  of  the diffuse matter and stars  of  dense  matter  of  unknown nature - protostars. Ambartsumian’s 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 existence  of  stellar systems  of  positive  total  energy  in the Galaxy, non-thermal  nature  of  ultraviolet  stellar  radiation of T Tauri  type  and  flare 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 in  the 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 of  its  ragged  structure,  the theory of fluctuations of light of the Milky Way), works on stellar dynamics (establishing of the base of  new, 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 foreign  member  of 28 Academies of Sciences, including USA, UK, France, Italy, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Greece, Czechoslovakia, India, Argentina, and  other National Academies, honorary member of scientific societies of many countries, honorary doctor of the  Universities of Canberra (Australia), La Plata (Argentina), Warsaw and Torun (Poland), Praha (Czechoslovakia), Liege  (Belgium) and Sorbonne (France).V.A.Ambartsumian has published about 20  books  and booklets, more  than 200 scientific papers, numerous popular articles.

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

 

DEDICATED TO 100-ANNIVERSARY OF VICTOR AMBARTSUMIAN

 

V.A.AMBARTSUMIAN’S 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 by himself in the  Leningrad State University

1935

Awarded the scientific degree of doctor of physical-mathematical sciences without defense of thesis

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

1944-1946   

Chairman of the Astronomical Commission of the USSR Academy of Sciences

1944-1946   

Director of the Yerevan Astrophysical Observatory of the Armenian SSR 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 ("Astronomy Reports")

1944-1994   

Head of the newly founded department of astrophysics of the Yerevan State University

1945        

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

1946        

Member of the International Astronomical Union (IAU)

1946        

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

1946-1985

Editor-in-chief of the "Communications of the Byurakan Observatory"

1946-1988   

Director of the newly founded Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory of the Armenian SSR Academy of Sciences                    

1947      

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

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

1948        

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

1948-1955   

Vice-President of the International Astronomical Union (IAU)

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 Council on the coordination of works of Academies of Sciences of the Union Republics

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)

1965

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

1965-1987   

Editor-in-Chief of the newly founded journal "Astrofizika"

1966  

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

1967

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

1967 

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

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)

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

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

1970        

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

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

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 New-York 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)

1974 

Chairman of the United Scientific Council on astronomy of the USSR 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

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"

1977 

Chairman of the Joint Scientific Council on Astronomy (JSCA) of the USSR Academy of Sciences

1978        

Corresponding member of the International Academy of Astronautics

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 Georgian SSR Academy of Sciences

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

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

1994        

Counsellor of the Russian Academy of Sciences

1994

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

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

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) 

     

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