At the XXX General Assembly held in August 2018 in Vienna, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) introduced a new category of its individual members — Honorary Members. The induction of this category aims to give official recognition to those individuals who have significantly contributed to the progress of astronomical research and culture in their country, but who do not qualify as Individual Members. The IAU has elected nine Honorary Members to join the organisation.
Crucial contributions to the development of astronomical research and culture in various countries are not always made by professional astronomers. To recognize the importance of the essential work accomplished by these individuals, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has decided to inaugurate the category of Honorary Members at the XXX General Assembly, held in Vienna (Austria), in August 2018, and accept nine distinguished individuals into the organisation.
Those individuals who have substantially contributed to the development of astronomical research in their country, but who do not qualify as Individual Members of the IAU, may be admitted by the IAU Executive Committee after a nomination by their National Committee for Astronomy (NCA) or the President of a Division. At the XXX General Assembly in 2018, the IAU proudly admitted its first nine Honorary Members.
Nominated by the Czech NCA.
For his exceptional support to the development of astronomy in the Czech Republic, which includes the initiation of several modernisation projects as the Director of the Nicolaus Copernicus Observatory, as well as for sustaining science in the Czech society as a member of the Czech Senate.
Hatem Hamdy Odah
Nominated by the Egypt NCA.
For his strong support to the development of Astronomy in Egypt, for establishing the Kattamia Center of Excellence in Astronomy and Space Science, and for working on the establishment of the Egyptian Space Agency.
Tefera Waluwa Wondmagnehu
Nominated by the Ethiopian NCA.
For his contribution to the development of astronomy and space science in Ethiopia as Chairman of the Board of the Ethiopian Space Science Society, as well as the Entoto Space Observatory and Research Center. He also strongly supported space science and technology during his term as Deputy to the Prime Minister of the Ethiopian Government.
Nominated by the French NCA.
As a leading expert in optical instrumentation and a charismatic figure in the world of amateur astronomers, he encouraged the amateur astronomy community to engage in challenging semi-professional observing programmes, developing modern high-quality instrumentation for this purpose.
Nominated by the Hungarian NCA.
For his untiring activity as General Secretary of the Hungarian Astronomical Society and Editor of the magazine Meteor. His enthusiasm in popularising astronomy has been instrumental in attracting the attention of young students who eventually became professional astronomers.
Nominated by the Irish NCA.
For employing his entrepreneurial skill and effective influence with policymakers to raise Irish astronomy to international excellence, for being instrumental in the construction of the I-LOFAR radio telescope in 2017, and for convincing the Irish Government to join ESO in 2018.
Olga Y. Vasilyeva
Nominated by the Russian Federation NCA.
For her strong support of the science of astronomy as Minister of Education and Science, which led to the reintroduction of the study of astronomy in the Russian school system in 2017.
Gordienko Sergey Pavlovich
Nominated by the Ukraine NCA.
For his passionate dedication to scientific journalism and to the popularisation of astronomy in Ukraine, as well as his role as founder and editor of the magazine The Universe, Space, Time.
Nominated by the United States NCA.
For his long-term and sustained efforts to establish, build, and operate the Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO) as a unique resource for astrophysics.
The IAU is the international astronomical organisation that brings together more than 13 500 professional astronomers from more than 100 countries worldwide. Its mission is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects through international cooperation. The IAU also serves as the internationally recognised authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and the surface features on them. Founded in 1919, the IAU is the world's largest professional body for astronomers.
Lars Lindberg Christensen
IAU Press Officer
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 320 06 761
Cell: +49 173 38 72 621