Mariano Mendez is professor in High-energy Astrophysics at the University of Groningen and will be honoured internationally for his support to young scientists in developing countries. This has just been announced by the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR). Mendez will receive the Distinguished Service Medal on Sunday 15 July in Pasadena (USA). Mendez studied Astronomy in Argentina and moved to the Netherlands in 1996. He is the first scientist at a Dutch institution to win this prize.
Among other feats Mendez developed a programme that gives astronomers from developing countries access to scientific data. He also masterminded career workshops and mentor programmes for young space researchers in developing countries. So far 1500 students have taken part in these workshops. They come from over fifty different countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Thailand and Vietnam. A number of them have gone on to occupy influential positions in space research.
Mariano Mendez (1960) grew up in Argentina. He studied Astronomy at the National University of La Plata. In 1989 he gained his PhD with honours from the same university. In 1996 he moved to the Netherlands. Mendez never lost touch with his roots and dedicated his life to scientific progress in developing countries. He did most of this unpaid and alongside his work as a scientist.
The international organization Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) was founded in 1958 by the International Council of Scientific Unions. It is an interdisciplinary scientific body that focuses on research conducted with satellites, rockets and balloons. COSPAR aims to stimulate scientific research and encourages the exchange of data and results. It also functions as a platform where the challenges of scientific space research are discussed. The Distinguished Service Medal is awarded to people who have made extraordinary efforts in the spirit of COSPAR. The prize is awarded during the COSPAR congress that is held every two years. This year it will be held from 14 to 22 July in Pasadena, California. 2000 to 3000 visitors are expected.
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