Janet Akyüz Mattei

Janet Akyüz Mattei (January 2, 1943March 22, 2004) was a Turkish-American astronomer and director of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) from 1973 to 2004.

Born in Bodrum, Turkey and educated in the American Collegiate Institute, İzmir. She came to the United States for university studies, and attended Brandeis University in Waltham, MA on the Wien Scholarship. Later, she was offered a job by Dorrit Hoffleit at the Maria Mitchell Observatory in Nantucket, Massachusetts.

She worked at Leander McCormick Observatory from 1970 to 1972 and received her M.A. in Astronomy from the University of Virginia in 1972 and her Ph.D. in Astronomy from Ege University in Turkey, 1982.

As head of the AAVSO for over 30 years, she collected observations of variable stars by amateur astronomers from around the world. She coordinated many important observing programs between amateur observers and professional astronomers. She was also keenly interested in education and student science projects.

Dr. Mattei won many awards, including the Centennial Medal of the Société Astronomique de France, 1987; George Van Biesbroeck Prize, American Astronomical Society, 1993; Leslie Peltier Award, Astronomical League, 1993; first Giovanni Battista Lacchini Award for collaboration with amateur astronomers, Unione Astrofili Italiani, 1995; and the Jackson-Gwilt Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, 1995. Asteroid 11695 Mattei is named in her honor.

She died of leukemia in Boston in March 2004.


* AAVSO website biography of Mattei


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