Greek scientist receives top US distinction

Chryssa Kouveliotou, an astrophysicist and senior scientist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, was elected to the US’s National Academy of Sciences it has been reported.

A longtime leading researcher in NASA's space science mission, the Greek scientist conducts extensive research on a host of astronomical subjects and is one of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates from 14 countries recently announced as members.

“I salute the National Academy of Sciences for their recognition of the groundbreaking scientific contributions that Dr Kouveliotou has made in the field of high energy astrophysics,” John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, was quoted by NASA as saying in a press release. “Her work in expanding our knowledge of the nature of cosmic gamma-ray bursts, and her broad efforts in the service of science are exemplary of the creativity, collaboration and innovation that are hallmarks of a great scientist. I extend my heartfelt congratulations to her, and am confident that she will continue to do great science and serve the nation as a member of the academy.”

Joining NASA in 2004, Kouveliotou received her doctorate in 1981 from the Technical University of Munich, Germany. She earned her master’s degree in science from the University of Sussex, England, in 1977, and her bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Athens in 1975.

In 2012 alone, she earned the Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, and was named one of Time Magazine's 25 most influential people in space.