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Words of Remembrance for Janet A. Mattei

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Our prayers are with Janet and Michael, I lost my father last month who got me started in astronomy. This year has started out rough for me with the lost of my father and Janet. I am happy to know that when I look up at the night sky I know that my father and Janet are looking down at me and encouraging me to keep observing variable stars. —Paul Kneipp


I suddenly lost my father last summer, so I want to be close to her relatives with my prayers.

It's only a little suggestion, but according to my opinion it would be appropriate that an asteroid wille be named as Janet, to let her be closer to stars. —Giancarlo Gotta (Italy)


I was devasted to learn that Janet has passed on. Please extend my condolences to her family and all at the AAVSO HQ. Her devotion to variable star astronomy and to the AAVSO will be sorely missed. —Colin Henshaw (Saudi Arabia)


The stars were her love and now her keeper. The universe is truly blessed to have Janet still amongst us. —Dave Hayden (Cananda)


Many colleagues in Europe are very saddened by this news. Janet guided a very significant contribution to the Hipparcos project by the AAVSO. She was a very special person, and we join with her family and friends in their grief. —Michael Perryman


I just heard the news about Janet Mattei and was thinking of you, and wanted to send my condolences to you and others that you work with. The first astronomy meeting that I ever attended was an AAVSO meeting held at Iowa State where I met Lee Anne Willson's good friend, Janet. I gave my first-ever astronomy talk on T Tauri stars, and they were very encouraging.

I also attended that meeting in Turkey near Janet's home town that Jorgen Christensen-Dalsgaard wrote about in his obituary re. Janet (have you seen it), and was very glad to get to know Janet better at that meeting. She was always very responsive when I needed help. I will miss her too... —Joyce Guzik


It saddens me to learn of the passing of Janet Mattei, a remarkable lady. My condolences to her family and to the AAVSO.

The cosmos has lost a star. —Dana Berry


What a tragic loss! Janet was a true friend and mentor to all of us. Our deepest sympathy to her family. My wife and I have pleasant memories of her introduction to the AAVSO at Cap'n Tobys on that rainy night on Nantucket so many years ago. —Walt & Mary Hampton


Janet Mattei was such a wonderful person. I am very sad that she died. She will live in my memories for ever. —Sonja Vrielmann (Germany)


I am very sorry to hear about Janet Mattei's passing. I didn't know her personally, but I used AAVSO results regularly in my research and was well aware of the importance of what she was doing.

One of my early published research results (1975, 1977) was the discovery that there is a correlation between the shape of the visible light curve of a Mira variable and its probability for OH maser emission (and a higher mass loss rate). The idea of looking for such a correlation seemed obvious to me when masers were initially discovered from Miras because I had been aware of the AAVSO years earlier when I was an amateur astronomer. I knew that the AAVSO would have a large, systematic database that I could use for my analysis. Without such a database, it would have been very difficult for anyone to discover such a correlation. So, for me, the important work of the AAVSO has always had a special meaning. —Phillip F. Bowers


I met Janet when we both entered graduate school at the University of Virginia in the fall of 1970. What a remarkably accomplished person already! Her strong Jewish heritage had led her from high school in Turkey to Brandeis, a University she dearly loved and, later, served and supported generously. She struggled there -- her preparation was weak by American standards -- but her indomitable spirit, boundless curiosity and tireless work ethic saw her through. After graduation she tried to stay in the U.S. but found working in Beth Israel Hospital's CP Unit to be too limiting. She returned to Turkey, as a high school science and math teacher, but was again unfulfilled. Finally, she entered the graduate Astronomy program at Ege University in Izmir. It was here, under the clear skies of the eastern Aegean, that her love for astronomy, in general, and variable stars, in particular, began to gel. The summer program at the Maria Mitchell Observatory culminating in her emergency running of the Annual meeting cemented her choice of astronomy as a career and her long association with the AAVSO.

Coming directly from Nantucket to Charlottesville, Janet knew exactly why she was in graduate school, unlike this classmate. (I was just happy not to be in Vietnam.) It was there in the windowless basement of Gilmer Hall that Janet inspired and educated us both by kind encouragement and purposeful example about the remarkable opportunity we all had. She also opened our eyes to her own rich culture. With Janet's encouragement, my wife Sue and I joined the Turkish-American Society so we could get a cheap charter flight to her homeland. We saw many incredible sights and even visited her home observatory in Bornova. But it was the dinner in the home of Janet's parents that was probably our most memorable experience. They spoke very little English and we knew only as much Turkish as three weeks in country with a Turkish-English dictionary would allow but we had a marvelous time . (Ouzo will do that). I have since come to understand that meeting a person's parents gives one remarkable insight into his/her character. Janet's parents were outgoing, sophisticated yet simple, "bend-over-backward-helpful," and incredibly prepared for our short visit. As we all came to know, these were Janet's characteristics too.

We were there when Janet married Mike, a union both blessed by and always looking toward the heavens. Janet's, Mike's and my paths crossed both professionally and personally a number of times since then. Janet helped coordinate amateur optical observations for my early work on radio stars including the RS CVn binaries. Mike was an observer at Harvard College Observatory when I visited the Center for Astrophysics as an Einstein guest observer. Later, Mike and I joined Lincoln Lab at about the same time; Mike worked at the Firepond Observatory at Millstone Hill while I worked at the GEODSS Field Site in New Mexico. Janet, realizing the great astronomical potential of the Air Force's GEODSS observations, encouraged me to try to get these data released to the AAVSO. Unfortunately, that did not (and probably never will) happen (but keep pushing).

Nearly every time I traveled to the Boston area I made a point to stop by the AAVSO office to see Janet, if only for a few minutes. She always showed me the latest data. She was so proud of all your contributions and the valuable light curves the Association has been able to publish. During my last visit she gave me a keyboard wrist pad with 25-years of Mira light curves. As I look at it today it reminds me of a heartbeat. Janet was the AAVSO's heart. —Dave Gibson


>By far the most fitting effort we can make in response to Janet's death is to go out and observe a variable star. You don't have to be an AAVSO member to contribute an observation, and you can download the charts for free at: http://www.aavso.org/observing/charts/ I know for a fact that if Janet were here, that would please her the most. —Lenny Abby


I was deeply saddened to receive the news of Janet's passing yesterday. It grieved me greatly. She has been in my thoughts and prayers throughout her illness. Please convey to your staff, to her husband and her family our deepest sympathy.

I have fond memories of Janet. Her enthusiasm, energy and support of amateur astronomers interested in making a serious contributions to astronomy will always remain one of my fondest memories. I remember her warm hospitality, particularly when she ordered pizza for my family and I when we were enroute to attend seminary in Bangor, Maine. I count that as a very special day. I have felt honored and am grateful to have served as chairman of the AAVSO Nova Search Committee during her time as Director. She will be missed by all of us.

Please know that all of the staff and you, but also Janet's husband and her family are in our thoughts and prayers. If I can be of futher service in any way, do not hesitate to contact me.

God bless! —Ken Beckmann


Your sad news about Janet Mattei has just reached us. On behalf of the President, Officers and Fellows of The Royal Astronomical Society please accept our condolences. Although I did not have the pleasure of knowing Janet personally, colleagues in the RAS who did assure me that her loss will be a great one to the community.

I would be grateful if you would pass on this message to the AAVSO.

With renewed expressions of regret —David Elliot (UK)


I learned today about the death of your director Janet Mattei. This is indeed sad news. She was not only a very good organizer of the AAVSO, but also a very kind person. We first met in Budapest in 1975. Pleae accept my condoleances —Michael Friedjung (France)


Carolyn and I are so shocked by the announcement that dear Janet is no longer with us and that she has lost the courageous battle with her illness.

At times like this, words are so inadequate to express our sorrow to have lost such a fine friend, and how to express our sincere condolences to Michael and Janet's family, and to the staff at the AAVSO.

The astronomical community will never be the same. Janet will be sadly missed. —Albert and Carolyn Jones (New Zealand)


What a shock. My heartfelt condolences go out to you and all at the AAVSO and to Janet's family. I know that Janet's spirit will help guide you through the difficult days and weeks ahead, but her guidance all these years has set the AAVSO on a very good footing. —Dan Green


With great sorrow we have learnt the tragic news about the death of our dear friend and colleague Janet Mattei. She was a great person, clever, acive, friendly, excellent Director, real scientist. The GCVS team was always so happy to have strong support from the AAVSO and its Director. Our personal contacts were always a great pleasure. I will never forget coming to Cambridge, meeting with Janet in Europe. It is a great loss for AAVSO, for professional and amateur variable star researchers throughout the world, for friends. But the loss is the greatest for her relatives. Please forward my condolences to Mike and to other members of the family.

I also wish to express our deepest sorrow on behalf of the Euro-Asian Astronomical Society representing professional astronomers of the former Soviet Union. —Nikolai Samus (Russia)


I could work a million jobs and never again have a boss like Janet. In fact, the word "boss" seems inappropriate to describe our employer-employee relationship. She was more of a leader, a guardian, and a friend. Her knowledge, compasion, and enthusiasm is unparalled.

Although we all have countless stories of Janet and how she touched our lives, one her daily workday rituals stands out to me more than others right now. Every morning Janet would enter the door of Headquarters with her usual burst of energy, would smile and cheer "Good Morning!" whether it was in fact a good morning or not. Janet's presence was intoxicating, much like oxygen: when she enterned the room, you just had to inhale and feel all the better for doing it.

Another trait of Janet's that stands to me right now, was her incredible internet-like memory. She knew so much and remembered such details from articles, conversations, anything, from years, even decades past when I could barely remember what I had for breakfast that morning. You could talk to her about an arbitrary variable and she would say, "you know where you should look?..." then would rattle off a journal name, date, and, I swear, even a page number. You would go and look and sure enough, the information you needed was there at your fingertips.

I'll also always remember Janet for her caring, loving heart. In her busy, busy life she always remembered birthdays and special events going on in the lives of others. My memory is filled with kind words and my home filled with thoughtful gifts from Janet.

I feel honored to have known such a special person; to learn so much about astronomy and life in general. I am sure I will never meet anyone like Janet ever again. She truly was one of a kind.

We are all truly lucky to have shared in Janet's time here on Earth. She is much a hero and inspriation for us all. She touched everyone who knew her and knew of her in such a profound way; much like a human supernova, but instead of enriching the interstellar medium, she has enriched thousands of human lives instead. Thank you, Janet. —Kerriann Malatesta


I would like to express my deepest sympathy, personnally and on behalf of the CDS team, to Janet's family and friends.

Her wit, kindness and leadership will be badly missed. —Francoise Genova (France)


Aloha!
My name is Tiffany Llenos and I was once a student of Janet Mattei. I attended the TOPS 2000 program with her and her husband, Mike, in Hawai'i. Janet was a wonderful woman with great enthusiasm for variable stars and a heart of gold. She helped me to develop a great appreciation for astronomy and encouraged it by inviting me to the 89th Annual Meeting of the AAVSO in Waltham, MA. I, along with another student of Janet's from the TOPS 2000 program, became acquainted with the faces of professional/amateur astronomy enthusiasts. It was a great experience, one I shall never forget. Janet was a people person; Thinking back, I remember Janet's stories and her love for flowers. She showed me many pictures of the flowers she took, she even gave me a few to keep. She was a great woman and an amazing human being. Janet is and will be greatly missed. Much Love —Tiffany Llenos


Cumhuriyet Bilim Teknik 889/5'i okurkenSeninle birka� kez konu�tuk. Ke�ke g�nce tutsa idim. Ke�ke ilk G�kbilim Doktorumuz Tevfik Okyay KABAKCIO�LU(U�ak1910-Levent 1971.11.14), Kandilli G�zlemevi M�d�r� Fatin Hoca(--1955) ve 20 000 y�ll�kT�rk Takvimi; Kaz�m MAR�AN'n�n Eski T�rk Evrenbilimi; B�y�k Patlama(!), Karadelik(!), Yeni Hubble Yasas� v= c Sin (H l /c), Yeni Evrensel A��n�m Yasas�; FM = - k Mm r/ [R2(M,m) + | r |2 ]3/2 ; ....ile ilgili g�r��lerini alabilseydim. Eme�inle var olacaks�n. �zlemlerimizle... —Mustafa Kemal OYMAN


I wish hereby to extend our condolences to you, to AAVSO staff, and to Mike Mattei for the sad and untimely decease of Janet. It was a great shock to my wife and myself on belatedly receiving the sad news. [...] We share your sadness over the loss. The world of astronomy, in particular variable star research, have suffered a great loss. For me and my wife, Bokkie, it is the loss of a dear friend. On two occasions when she was in South Africa she visited us at our home in Petoria, staying for the night the last time round when she was here for the total solar eclipse. She was such a warm and easy, friendly person it was easy to love her. We all shall sorely miss her. — Dr. Jan A Smit (South Africa)


We, the 1962 graduates of American Girls' College of Izmir, Turkey, are deeply sorrowed over our beloved classmate's death. We believe that from now on she will be living in the stars which she loved so much and in which she has dedicated most of her life in. May she rest in peace. —Filiz Guven


The NOAA National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) were saddened to hear of the loss of Dr. Janet Mattei. She was a very vital force in AAVSO and will be a tough act to follow. I remember her at several International Astronomical Union meetings, always a bundle of energy. She was positive and very outgoing, with a mission of advancing the status of the AAVSO, and astronomy in general, in the international community. NGDC routinely receives the American sunspot numbers and the Sudden Ionospheric Disturbances reports each month from the AAVSO Solar Group. These data appear in the monthly report Solar-Geophysical Data (SGD). There have been some growing pains in the Solar Group in recent years, but there always was an emphasis on maintaining a correct scientific method in reducing the monthly lists and using modern computer analysis and methods, an emphasis that came from the top of the organization. As a leader, Janet endorsed and embraced the many changes in upgrading computer methods, using the new presentation capabilities to produce useful and powerful educational packages for schools and for non-scientists who have an interest in learning and contributing to the worldwide scientific investigation of our local and astrophysical environment. She was a great role model for young women, moving in international circles with ease. A capable scientist, mentor and kind friend, she will be missed by many.

We extend our deepest sympathies on the untimely loss of your Director —Helen Coffey


I am near to all AAVSO's staff for the missing of Janet Mattei.

A life is death on earth; a star is born in the sky. —Enrico Mariani (Italy)


I have just lot my father, also my astronomy friend. Then I got shocking news of the demise of Janet Mattei. These have been sad days and nights. My binoculars have been heavy for weeks now. Funerals of my dad was on the same day as Janet's, 26 March. My condolences to Janet's family and friends. —Kari Tikkanen (Finland)


I am sad to have lost a wonderful colleague, enthusiastic patron, and dear friend. I will miss her.

Janet was one of the brilliant stars of astronomy. She had a contagious zest for life and learning, a special curiosity about the people and the world around her.

When I was a graduate student, Janet sent me copies of AAVSO light curves for all of the symbiotic stars in the AAVSO archive. Later, she sent a tape with observations of a few favorites. The data on this tape were the basis for several of my first papers. Over the years, she continued to work with me on various projects. Always, I was touched by her insight, enthusiasm, and support. She had a special understanding of data and its limits.

Janet's personal charm was incredible. She always made time for friends, colleagues, and complete strangers. She touched people across the world. And all of us will remember ... —Scott Kenyon


Dear Elizabeth and other AAVSO office staff members

I was so sad to hear that Janet passed away. I can only imagine how you must miss her and what a great void her passing has made to the AAVSO. Janet was a really special lady and I so enjoyed all my visits with her. She and I shared a love of flowers and I always enjoyed looking at the pictures of the flowers she had taken when I visited the AAVSO office with my father Danie Overbeek.

I enjoyed my visit with you in December when I visited with Andy and Caroline.

You have been in my thoughts and prayers since Janet's passing

Love — Jennifer Chen.


Grazie Janet da un astrofilo italiano. Grazie di cuore. — Dario Apollonio (Italy)


We are both very new in variable star observing and so we never had the privilege of talking with Dr. Janet Mattei. However, from the remembrance messages we read, from all over the world, we understood how great was the loss for her family and friends, for AAVSO and for amateur science. Please accept our sincere condolences. — Ana Paula Correia and Jos� Ribeiro (Portugal)


I regret deeply for the event.

...life is so short that you only start to realize to be a heaven citizen.
Do not waste it....—Paolo Corelli


I remember attending a meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada - Toronto Centre in the mid 1980's. The keynote speaker that night was Dr. Mattei. Although I had been interested in astronomy all my life, I had no idea whatsoever that amateurs could make a respectable contribution to astronomical research. Her presentation made all of this sound so impressive to me that I began observing naked eye variables forthwith and later acquired a photometer and now submit (unfortunately no where near enough) PEP observations. When I joined the AAVSO I indicated that I had heard about this organziation from her talk in Toronto and on my membership card she wrote in her own hand a note indicating how pleased she was that her talk had motivated me.

My work keeps me from contributing significant numbers of observations and as a result I am not part of the "loop". However, because of the motivation instilled from the above presentaion, I always felt an abiding respect and kinship for her. I was dismayed to hear of her illness and her subsequent struggle with it. I am empty at the news of her loss, even though it is now well past 6 weeks. You do not have to spend a lot of time to recognize a remarkable individual.

Dr. Mattei showed me that amateur research is possible and interesting. I sincerely hope the work I do in this end is worthy of the commitment she made to speak to my club and to amtear research at large. Sincerely — Henri M. van Bemmel B.Sc.; David Reain Memorial Observatory (Canada)


We are joining colleagues around the world in the feeling that astronomy has lost a great personality with her untiring efforts to further develop cooperation in the field at the widest international level possible.

Since 1995, Janet was one of the major sponsors of what has become known as the United Nations Basic Space Science Initiative aimed at supporting developing nations to enter the field of education and research in astronomy and astrophysics. She generously supported this initiative by contributing to the UN/ESA Workshops on Basic Space Science, and as a follow-up action, by providing the "Hands-on Astrophysics" tools and "Setting Up a Variable Star Observing Program" material to many astronomical telescope facilities in developing nations. This was one of the three major pillars for the TRIPOD programme developed through the initiative in the period of time from 1991 to 2004.

With Janet, it was a very special experience to exchange views on how to sponsor astronomy in developing nations. Papers had to be mailed forth and back and it happened that Janet not only exchanged written words but attached to the letter a leaf from a tree: May be to emphasize how fragile life on this planet happens to be - for all of us.

We will not forget the wonderful personality of Janet and her unconditional support for a noble course.

—Hans and Barbara Haubold, United Nations

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