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UMD Celebrates Legacy of Distinguished Professor

April 10, 2013

Neil Tickner 301-405-4622

Roald SagdeevCOLLEGE PARK, Md. - In the final days of the Soviet Union, University of Maryland Physics Distinguished Professor Roald Sagdeev took a risk. In the face of having his tires slashed and apartment robbed, he pioneered U.S.-Soviet cooperation in space and was heavily involved in disarmament talks—establishing himself as a major 20th century force for peace and scientific cooperation.

Marking Sagdeev's 80th birthday, the university has recognized his lifetime of contributions and the impact he has made on modern science in the fields of plasma and space physics, scientific policy and global security.

UMD's Department of Physics hosted a special event in honor of Sagdeev, which included a public interview titled "The Day I Said 'Nyet!' to Gorbachev... and Other Life Tales of a Famous Soviet Scientist" and a Q&A with Dan Zwerdling, award-winning correspondent and investigative journalist with National Public Radio.

Watch the interview:


About Roald Sagdeev
Prior to his move to the United States in 1990, Professor Sagdeev was director of the Soviet Union's Institute of Space Research. He also led efforts for the first U.S.-Soviet joint space mission in 1975 and served as a science advisor to former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev.

During that time, Sagdeev had a truly remarkable impact on East-West scientific collaboration. He established himself as a major 20th century force for peace and scientific cooperation by pioneering U.S.-Soviet cooperation in space and playing a leading role in disarmament talks.

Among his many awards and accolades, Sagdeev was awarded the Lenin Prize in 1984 for his outstanding achievements in the foundations of the neoclassical theory of transport processes in toroidal plasma. In 2003, he received the Carl Sagan Memorial Award and was recently honored with the highest award in his native Tatarstan.

He is a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Academy of Sciences of Tatarstan, the Max Planck Institute, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and more.