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J. A. Mattei - Biography

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Janet Akyuz Mattei (center) is an internationally recognized astronomer in the field of stars that change in brightness - variable star, particularly in eruptive (cataclysmic) and pulsating (long period) variables. She has been the director and scientific representitive of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) since 1973.

She is a native of Turkey and came to the United States under Wien International Scholarship Program of Brandeis University and received her Bachelor of Arts in General Science (Physics) at Brandeis, Master of Science in Astronomy at Ege University in Turkey and also at Univeristy of Virginia, and her PhD in Astronomy at Ege University.

As the Director of AAVSO she is responsible for the compiling, digitizing, analyzing, and disseminating to the astronomical community of over 300,000 observations a year from variable star observers - mostly amateur astronomers - from around the world. She has coordinated over 500 observing programs between professional and amateur astronomers using large telescopes in well known observatories and space satellites. She has collaborated with astronomers around the world on variable star research and has provided observations from the AAVSO International Database for over 700 research projects on variable stars.

She has played a key role in having amateur astronomers be given observing time on NASA's Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and serves in the HST Amateur Astronomers Working Group which selects the amateur astronomer candidates for HST observing.

She is keenly interested in astronomy education, and mentoring of young students and has provided guidance in over 150 student science projects and setting up observing programs in schools. She is the Principal Investigator of a NASA-funded education program: "Partnership in Astronomy" connecting local middle schools with amateur astronomers, and co-director of AAVSO's major educational project: "Hands-On Astrophysics -- Variable Stars in Math and Physics Lab" funded by National Science Foundation.

She serves in several astronomical committees and Board of Directors, including the Variable Star Commission of the International Astronomical Union, NASA Astrophysics Review Panel which reviews funding for astronomers, NASA Astrophysics Division Scientific and Management Operation Working Group which reviews the activities of NASA astronomical satellites, and the Board of Directors of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

She is the recipient of the 1987 Centennial Medal of the Societe Astronomique de France, the 1993 George Van Biesbroeck Award, and 1993 Leslie Peltier Award for leadership of AAVSO, and service and contributions to variable star astronomy.

Janet's activities outside variable stars include botany, especially of wild flowers, hiking, gardening, and photography.

Visits since 10/99. Last Updated on December 15, 2001
Karen. Meech, Institute for Astronomy, UH