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NASA has announced that it will award the Distinguished Public Service Medal, its highest honor, to astronomer Yervant Terzian, the Tisch Distinguished Professor Emeritus.
Professor Terzian, is one of the prominent modern astronomers, known in the fields of physics of the interstellar medium, planetary nebulae, galaxies, radio astronomy, and others. He is one of the ArAS Co-Presidents and the Chairman of the Research Council of ANSEF.
“Dr. Yervant Terzian has dedicated his life to education, public service and scientific research,” according to NASA in its award citation. “He has used his enthusiasm for space exploration and education to bring inspirational experiences to students and the general public across the country.”
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine will present the medal at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston on Aug. 2. The ceremony will be broadcast live at noon EDT on NASA TV.
Terzian has served on eight NASA committees, including the Hubble Space Telescope Fellowship Committee, NASA’s Diversity in Science Education and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Radio Astronomy Evaluation Committee. For 20 years, Terzian directed the NASA New York Space Grant Consortium, comprising 19 universities and five industries and science centers. In 2012, the 52 state NASA Space Grant directors elected Terzian chairman.
“The Space Grant has been very successful in implementing space programs for the brightest students across New York state to provide them with opportunities to develop their interest in space,” said Terzian. “This is what will keep the United States as the leader.”
Terzian said he has been inspired throughout his life by the ancient Greeks and their deductive method of science. “When I was very young and asked my father why there were stars, I was not satisfied with the answers, and I started reading everything I could from the American Library in Cairo,” he explained. “The description of nature through our science, through our scientific methods, is still young, and we should expect major discoveries in the future. From the work humans have achieved so far, we can deduce that we are not alone in the universe, and the day will come that we will find life in other planets.”
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