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Interesting Facts about Nüzhet Gökdoğan, a Turkish First Female Astronomer



Interesting Facts about Nüzhet Gökdoğan, a Turkish First Female Astronomer

The Google Doodle honors Turkish astronomer Nüzhet Gökdoğan on her 113th birthday. She is regarded as one of the country’s first female astronomers, mathematicians, and academics. Gökdoğan was born in Istanbul, Türkiye, on August 14, 1910. Ali Çetinkaya, a guest artist from İzmir, created the Google Doodle artwork. Here are some interesting and fun facts about Hatice Nüzhet Gökdoğan.

Nuzhet Gokdogan 113rd Birthday Google Doodle
Google Doodle on Nüzhet Gökdoğan’s 113rd Birthday

Here is a look at the life and work of Nüzhet Gökdoğan.

Quick Look

  • Birth name: Hatice Nuzhet Gokdogan
  • Birth date: 14 August 1910
  • Death: April 24, 2003 (aged 92)
  • Nationality: Turkish
  • Citizenship: Republic of Türkiye
  • Education:  
    • University of Lyon (BSc)
    • Istanbul University (PhD)
  • Father name: Mehmet Zihni Toydemir
  • Mother name: Nebihe Hanım
  • Spouse: Mukbil Gökdoğan

Interesting Facts about Nüzhet Gökdoğan

  1. Turkish astronomer, mathematician, and academic Hatice Nüzhet Gökdoğan.
  2. Nüzhet Gökdoğan was born in Istanbul, Turkey, on August 14, 1910. Her father was a major general by the name of Mehmet Zihni Toydemir, and her mother was Nebihe Hanım.
  3. In her late teens, Nüzhet Gökdoğan was awarded a scholarship to pursue her education in France. She studied at the University of Lyon and graduated with an undergraduate degree in mathematics in 1932.
  4. She studied physics at the University of Paris and earned a Diplome d’Etudes Superieures since she had a keen interest in astronomy. The Paris Observatory was where she finished her internship.
  5. As soon as she got back to Turkey in 1934, Nüzhet Gökdoğan applied for a job at the Kandilli Observatory, but the director rejected her since she was a woman.
  6. Instead, she accepted a position as a faculty member in the Astronomy Department at Istanbul University. She was the institution’s first female science faculty member.
  7. Young adult Nüzhet Gökdoğan had studied mathematics and astronomy in France before she joined the faculty of Istanbul University in 1934, where she earned her Ph.D.
  8. Three years later, in 1937, she finished her Ph.D. and submitted a dissertation with the title Contribution aux recherches sur l’existence d’une matière obscure interstellaire homogène autour du soleil (Contribution to research on the existence of homogeneous interstellar dark matter around the sun).
  9. The first doctoral thesis to be finished at Istanbul University’s Faculty of Science was noted as Nüzhet Gökdoğan’s dissertation.
  10. In addition to helping co-found the Turkish Mathematical Society, Gökdoğan was appointed full professor at the university in 1948.
  11. In the early 1950s, Nüzhet Gökdoğan held the position of president of the Turkish Union of Soroptimists.
  12. In 1954, she was selected Dean of the university’s Faculty of Science, making history as the first Turkish woman to serve as a university dean.
  13. The same year, she joined as a founding member of the Turkish Astronomy Association, which she led for the next two decades as president.
  14. Nüzhet Gökdoğan was named Chair of the Astronomy Department at Istanbul University in 1958, and she served in that capacity for the rest of her career as a faculty member, greatly increasing the department’s capability and promoting astronomers’ cross-national and international collaboration.
  15. The department’s workforce progressively increased from 5 to 18, thanks to Gökdoğan’s tireless efforts, and she created several innovative joint programs with observatories in France, Italy, and Switzerland.
  16. Nüzhet Gökdoğan authored the introductory astronomy and spectroscopy textbooks for Turkish high school students. She was also a founding member and multiple-time president of the Turkish University Women’s Association.
  17. The Turkish Mathematical Society, Turkish Astronomy Association, and Turkish University Women’s Association were all co-founded by Gökdoğan.
  18. Nüzhet Gökdoğan was recognized as Turkey’s first female astronomer and served as the country’s first national representative at the International Astronomical Union (IAU).
  19. As a member of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), Gökdoğan was elected in 1961 to serve as Turkey’s first national representative of Turkey to the IAU.
  20. She attended an IAU conference in Berkeley, California in August 1961 on behalf of Turkey. She took part in the IAU’s commissions on “theory of stellar atmospheres” and “solar radiation and structure” while she was a member of the organization.
  21. In Turkey, she planned several regional, national, and international astronomy conferences. One of these events in the late 1970s is credited with solidifying broader interest in constructing a new national observatory.
  22. In 1980, Nüzhet Gökdoğan retired from Istanbul University.
  23. Mukbil Gökdoğan, a professor of architecture and former Minister of Public Works, was the spouse of Gökdoğan. They had two children, both of whom grew to become university professors. Mukbil died in 1992.
  24. Nüzhet Gökdoğan died on April 24, 2003.
  25. The professor is credited with establishing several science-related organizations, including the Turkish Astronomy Association, Turkish Association of University Women, and Turkish Mathematics Association, as well as furthering the field of astronomy in Turkey.
  26. On 14th August 2023, Google featured a Google Doodle on its homepage to celebrate Nüzhet Gökdoğan’s 113th Birthday.
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