The Greek astrophysicist with an asteroid named after him
The meaning of success is quite relative. For a Hollywood actor, having a star with his name on the famous Avenue surely counts for something. But did you also know that astrophysicists have actual stars named after them? For example, the Greek astrophysicist Kleomenis Tsiganis, born in Larissa, Greece, is proud to say that from 2008, an asteroid 446.000.000 km far from our planet “carries” his name, or to be more exact, his surname. It was an effort made by the Committee for Small-body Nomenclature of the IAU to honor Tsiganis’ contribution to science.
Kleomenis Tsiganis was born on the 12th January 1974 in the city of Larissa, Greece, having a passionate relationship with physics and mathematics, from an early stage of his life. His father, being a mechanical surveyor, would often take him up on the roof of their house, and give him advice on how to observe the stars, with the help of course of all the mechanic equipment he already had for his job.
In 1996 he graduated from the Department of Physics in the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (BSc in Physics), and a few years later, in 2002, he obtained his PhD in Physics (Dynamical Astronomy) from the same university. From 2002 to 2004 he worked as a Post-doc researcher in the National Center of Scientific Research in France (Observatoire de la Côte d’ Azur, Nice), funded by the EC Marie Curie Fellowship. He is a Lecturer in the Department of Physics of Aristotle University in Thessaloniki since 2006, where he teaches Physics and Mathematics.
His scientific interests lie mainly in the following domains: Dynamical Evolution of the Solar System, Celestial Mechanics and Nonlinear Dynamics and Extrasolar planetary systems. As far as research work is concerned, he has numerous publications in international journals, and a great number of citations to his work according to Astrophysics Data System (ADS).
In 2004, “Science” magazine published a summary on the highlights of the DPS 2004 meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), citing his talk on planet migration and the Late Heavy Bombardment of the Moon as one of the top 3 presentations.
As a result of his contribution to science and his great scientific achievements, the Committee for Small-body Nomenclature of the IAU renamed asteroid 1999RC221 to “(21775) Tsiganis”, adding his name to the short list of Greek scientists that are proud to say that they have a star named after them. The number “21775” indicates the rank of the asteroid in the list of minor planets whose orbit has already been calculated accurately.