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Today is Den Izad day, the 24th day of the month in the Zoroastrian calendar, and 18th Aban of the official calendar

Birthday of Alenush Terian: Mother of Modern Iranian Astronomy

Today is Den Izad of the month of Aban, the 24th of Aban in the year 3759 Zoroastrian calendar, Tuesday, 18th Aban, 1400, November 9th, 2021.

18 Aban is the birthday of Iranian physicist Alenush Terian, “Mother of Astronomy” and “Lady of Iranian Astrophysics.” The establishment of the first observatory and solar telescope in the history of Iranian astronomy is one of the enduring works of Alenush Terian.

Alenush Terian, an Iranian physicist and retired professor of astronomy at the University of Tehran and one of the founders of Iranian astrophysics, is known as the “mother of Iranian astronomy” for her role in advancing the astronomy field of study. Terian was the founder of the first solar physics observatory and the first solar telescope in Iran and taught the lessons of solar physics and astrophysics for the first time in the country. Alenush Terian is one of the most outstanding professors of physics in Iran. One of the students of Professor Mahmoud Hesabi and the first person to teach Astrophysics. Alenush Terian has been teaching in the Physics Department of the Faculty of Science of the University since 1336, and in 1343 she became a professor at the University of Tehran and was the head of the Department of Solar Physics and Astronomy. She is the first female professor at the University of Tehran. Dr. Alenush Terian retired in 1979 after 30 years of teaching. She was fluent in Persian, Armenian, and French and was fluent in Turkish and English. She was born on November 9, 1920, in a family with academic and science background, in Tehran. Her father, Arto Terian, was an actor with a degree in acting from Moscow and the founder of the second educational center for dramatic arts and drama in Iran and had translated parts of Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh into Armenian. Her mother, Varto Terian, studied literature and rhetoric in Switzerland and was the first Iranian-Armenian woman to perform Persian poetry declamation and work in the performing arts. Aelnush Terian spent her childhood in a family with such cultural, literary, and artistic support.

She completed her secondary education at Anoushirvan Dadgar Zoroastrian High School. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Tehran in 1326, where she was hired as the laboratory operations manager of the Faculty of Science. She then applied for a scholarship but was not accepted because she was a woman. At the expense of her family, she went to Sorbonne University and, in 1335, “1956” received a doctorate from that university.

Despite being offered a professorship at Sorbonne University, she returned to Iran to serve her country and was appointed an associate professor of thermodynamics at the University of Tehran.

In 1338 (1959) she was selected to participate in a scholarship given by the Germany government, to study the solar observatory and returned to Iran after four months of study. In 1345, she played a significant role in founding the first solar physics observatory in Iran. She never married. Alenush Terian donated her library to the National Library of Iran and dedicated her house in Julfa, Isfahan, to students who had no suitable place to live. In the last years of her life, she lived in the Tohid Nursing Home. Finally, Professor Alenush Terian passed away on Esfand 14th, 1389, at the age of 90.

Scientific services:

  • Establishment of the first solar physics observatory
  • Establishment of the first solar telescope

Awards of appreciation presented to her:

  • Mesrop Mashtots medal from Jazligh Aram Keshishian
  • Plaque of appreciation from the Ministry of Welfare and Social Security on the occasion of winning the title of the country’s leading pioneer
  • Plaque of appreciation from the management of Tehran Science and Astronomy Organization.
  • Certificate of appreciation from the director general of the department for the elderly
  • Plaque of appreciation from the Faculty of Physics, University of Tehran
  • Plaque of Appreciation from the Iranian Amateur Astronomical Society
  • Plaque of appreciation of the Welfare Organization of the country, on the occasion of the International Day of the Elderly in 1385
  • Plaque of appreciation from the Iranian Geophysical Institute 1385
  • Plaque of appreciation from the Office of the President 1385
  • Plaque of appreciation from the Armenian Women’s Charity Association of Tehran, 1385
  • Memorial plaque by Bisoton Cultural Association 1388
  • Received the title of the country’s exemplary mentor, 1388
  • Letter of appreciation from the National Documents and Library Organization 1389
  • Certificate of Appreciation from the Hoor Translation and Research Institute and the Armenian Women Charitable Association of Tehran, 1389

Den (religion) is a Persian word and means conscience, insight, and introspect that has been placed in every human being by Ahura Mazda, to help him find the right path to pave.

Daena (den) is the name of the 24th day of each month in the Zoroastrian calendar, and the guardianship of the twenty-fourth day of the month is given to the god of religion (Den Izad). Den is the name of an Izad (god) of the Zoroastrian gods, the guardian of the pen. On this day children are sent to learning institutions.

Abu Rayhan al-Biruni has mentioned the name of this day as “Den” in the list of Iranian days, and in the Soghdian language it is also called Den and also in the Kharazmi language. Den derived from the word “Daena”, is of the same meaning as Sorush, meaning conscience.

Insight has been put by Ahura Mazda into every human being so that he can find the right and proper path in life with its power and walk in it.

In Sanskrit, Gathas, and other parts of the Avesta, the word “daena” occurs eight times. Den in Gathas has different meanings, like faith, religion and Sorush.

Ferdowsi has a verse about this Izad:

Your faith should be people’s happiness

And your religion should be honesty and chivalry

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