Massevitch, Alla G. (1918–)

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Massevitch, Alla G. (1918–)

Soviet astrophysicist. Born Alla Genrikohovna Massevitch, Oct 9, 1918, in Tbilisi, capital of the Georgian Republic (now Georgia); dau. of Genrikh Massevitch (lawyer) and Natalie (Zhgenty) Massevitch (nurse); University of Moscow, degree in physics, 1941; candidate's degree (equivalent of a PhD) from Sternberg State Astronomy Institute in Moscow, 1946; m. Joseph Friedlander (metallurgical engineer), 1941; children: Natalie Friedlander.

Astrophysicist, university professor, and vice-president of the USSR's Academy of Science, who organized and administered a network of stations that tracked movements of Soviet Sputniks; became a lecturer in astrophysics at University of Moscow (1946); named vice president of Astronomical Council of the Academy of Sciences (1952); when the Council was assigned the task of tracking space vehicles (1957), trained leaders for a network of 70 tracking stations throughout USSR and had them in place when Sputnik I was launched (Oct 4); became a spokeswoman for Soviet science abroad, making trips to almost every European country and US; served as chair of tracking group of International Committee on Space Research; elected a foreign member of Britain's Royal Astronomical Society (1963); was vice president of the Institute for Soviet-American Relations; authored 2 books on stellar evolution and published over 60 papers, mainly in the Astronomical Journal of the USSR.

See also Women in World History.