Press Release


RA V. Ambartsumian Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory (BAO)
Press release 23.12.2019


Today we celebrate Professor Elma Parsamian’s 90th anniversary. Since the early years of foundation of Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory (BAO), she has had a significant contribution in the development of the Armenian observational astrophysics, as well as in preparation of future astronomical generations. Prof. Parsamian was born on 23 December 1929 in Yerevan. Finishing the secondary school with a gold medal, she studied in 1949-1954 at Yerevan State University (YSU) Department of Physics and Mathematics. After the graduation of YSU in 1954 she started working in Byurakan. She was a post-graduate in 1957-1960 and took her Ph.D. degree at the YSU in 1963 under the supervision of Prof. G.A. Gurzadian on“Colorimetric and polarimetric investigation of some cometary nebulae”. In 1967-1986, Parsamian was a Senior Researcher, in 1986-2000, a Leading Researcher, and since 2000 she is a Principal Researcher at BAO. In 1983, she defended her second thesis and became a Doctor of Sciences. Since 1989 she is Professor. In 1983-1987, Parsamian simultaneously worked at the Armenian Pedagogical Institute as the Chair of the Department of Astronomy and Theoretical Physics. In 1967-1971 and 1990-1991 she lectured at the YSU and has been a supervisor of a number of diploma and Ph.D. theses. In 1968-1969, 1976-1977 and 1991-1995, Parsamian worked at UNAM and Tonantzintla Observatory in Mexico as a researcher of the highest “C” degree. There she also lectured at the University in 1992. In 1965 and 1996, she was a visiting scientist in 14 Germany (Tautenburg Observatory and Max-Planck-Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg). In 1982 she also worked in Italy (Asiago Observatory), as well as in some other institutions.In 2000, Parsamian was elected a Corresponding member of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences, and in the same year, a member of the Editorial Board of journal “Astrofizika”(“Astrophysics”). Parsamian’s studies concern the physics of gaseous nebulae, investigation of variable stars in star clusters and associations, and archaeoastronomy. She has carried out colorimetric and polarimetric study of cometary nebulae (the subject of her Ph.D. thesis). In 1965, Parsamian published the first catalog of cometary nebulae. Since 1965, she was engaged in studies of variable (mainly flare) stars. In 1970-1981 she participated in the large program of search and investigation of flare stars in young stellar groups (Pleiades, Orion, Hyades, Praesepe, Cygnus, etc.) organized in BAO. Parsamian has discovered and observed numerous flare stars. In 1976, she has worked out a new method for determination of the age of flare stars and stellar associations and clusters containing flare stars. In 1979, together with V.M. Petrosian, Parsamian published her second catalog of cometary nebulae containing 106 such objects. She has studied the frequency distribution function of flare stars in the Orion association and estimated that there were 1.5 times more flare stars than in Pleiades. In 1982, together with the Mexican astronomer E. Chavira, she published a catalog of 534 stars in the Orion nebula region having Hα emission (half of them discovered by herself) adding many new such stars to Haro‟s list. At present Parsamian is the PI of a research group in Byurakan and works on spectral study of fours and subfuors, spectrophotometry of planetary nebulae and problems of distribution of flare activity and frequency of flares of flare stars. Some cometary and planetary nebulae discovered by her have been named after Parsamian. Parsamian has significant contribution in archaeoastronomy. She has justified the astronomical significance of buildings in Metsamor (1967), Zorats Karer Karahunge (1984). Particularly, she discovered proves about the existence of astronomical observing platforms in Metsamor. She showed that Sirius was observed in Metsamor in 2500-2600 B.C. As a result, Parsamian has published 136 scientific papers, as well as a number of popular articles. She has participated in more than 50 international and all-Union symposia and conferences, including 4 IAU General Assemblies and several other IAU meetings. Parsamian is a member of 15 IAU (1976), EAS (1990), EAAS (1996), and ArAS (2001). She also is a member of BAO Specialized Council for Scientific Degrees (1980) and its Chair since 2007, Vice-President of the working group “Flare Stars” of the Commission on Stellar Physics of the academies of sciences of Socialist countries (1985-1988), member of the USSR Commission on Preparation of Astronomical Staff (1986-1991), member of Editorial Board of the journal “Historical-Astronomical Investigations”(1988-1992),member of astronomical scientific-methodological commission of the USSR universities and institutes (1990-1992). Parsamian has been awarded the medal “For Labour Valour” (1971), Letter of Commendation of the Armenian NAS (1981), and Anania Shirakatsi medal (2003). Her name was included in Armenian Concise Encyclopedia (Vol. 4, p.183, Yerevan, 2003) and“Who is Who” encyclopedia (Vol. 2, p.314, Yerevan, 2007).

Our sincerest congratulations to prof. Elma Parsamian.

Meline Asryan

Address: 0213, Byurakan, Aragatzotn Province, Republic of Armenia
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