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5 July 2012

Famous astrophysicist Joan Feynman arrived in Tuva

Tuvaonline. Translated by Chimis Salchak

Famous astrophysicist Joan Feynman arrived in Tuva Legendary physicist and Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman’s sister Joan Feynman  arrived in Tuva. It was his love to Tuva which encouraged most Americans to visit this amazing place of the world. 84-year-old Joan Feynman will visit the festival of throat singing “Dembildey”, which will be held in the capital from 6 to 8 July. The festival is devoted to 50th anniversary of  Tuvan throat singer Kongar-ool Ondar who has a close relations with the Feynmans. In 2010, Richard Feynman’s daughter Michelle visited Tuva.

Joan Feyman is a famous astrophysicist, who specializes in interaction of solar wind  and Earth’s magnetosphere. Her son is an editor at the "Popular Science Magazine". He published memoirs -  "My mother is a scientist" - about his famous  mother, where he described her thorny path to success in science.

Richard and Joan’s mother was smart and understanding, she had marched for women’s right to vote when she was young. But when her 8-year-old daughter claimed Famous astrophysicist Joan Feynman arrived in Tuva that she wants to be a scientist, her grandmother objected: “A woman can’t be a scientist as her brain is not capable of understanding everything that’s necessary”. Mother admitted that and since then Joan always had doubts about her abilities.

Such thoughts were not long ago. It is good that Joan turned to be not only talented but ambitious as a result she became a physicist not because her parents’ support and an early start, but to the contrary. When she was a pupil, her brother presented her with a university textbook about astronomy, where she found a quote from the book “Stelar Atmospheres” by Cecilia Payne.  By that fact she was convinced that a woman can be a scientist, that encouraged her.

In 1999 she was recognized for her outstanding achievements by the scientific elite of Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in 2000 she was awarded NASA main medal. 

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