Biography:Rashid Sunyaev

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Rashid Sunyaev
Sunyaev in 2010
Born (1943-03-01) 1 March 1943 (age 79)
NationalityRussian, German
Alma materMoscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MS),
Moscow State University (Ph.D)
Known forCosmic microwave background radiation
AwardsKing Faisal International Prize for Physics (2009),
Heineman Prize (2003),
Crafoord Prize (2008),
Kyoto Prize (2011),
Dirac Medal, ICTP (2019)
Scientific career
InstitutionsRussian Academy of Sciences, Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, Institute for Advanced Study

Rashid Alievich Sunyaev (Tatar: Рәшит Гали улы Сөнәев, Russian: Раши́д Али́евич Сюня́ев; born 1 March 1943 in Tashkent, USSR) is a Soviet and Russian astrophysicist of Tatar descent. He got his MS degree from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) in 1966. He became a professor at MIPT in 1974. Sunyaev was the head of the High Energy Astrophysics Department of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and has been chief scientist of the Academy's Space Research Institute since 1992. He has also been a director of the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching, Germany since 1996, and Maureen and John Hendricks Distinguished Visiting Professor in the School of Natural Sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton since 2010.[1]


Sunyaev and Yakov B. Zeldovich developed the theory for the evolution of density fluctuations in the early universe. They predicted the pattern of acoustic fluctuations that have been clearly seen by WMAP and other CMB experiments in the microwave sky and in the large-scale distribution of galaxies. Sunyaev and Zeldovich stated in their 1970 paper, "A detailed investigation of the spectrum of fluctuations may, in principle, lead to an understanding of the nature of initial density perturbations since a distinct periodic dependence of the spectral density of perturbations on wavelength (mass) is peculiar to adiabatic perturbations." CMB experiments have now seen this distinctive scale in temperature and polarization measurements. Large-scale structure observations have seen this scale in galaxy clustering measurements.

With Yakov B. Zeldovich, at the Moscow Institute of Applied Mathematics, he proposed what is known as the Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect, which is due to electrons associated with gas in galaxy clusters scattering the cosmic microwave background radiation.[2][3][4][5]

Sunyaev and Nikolay I. Shakura developed a model of accretion onto black holes, from a disk,[6] and he has proposed a signature for X-radiation from matter spiraling into a black hole. He has collaborated in important studies of the early universe, including the recombination of hydrogen and the formation of the cosmic microwave background radiation. He led the team which operated the X-ray observatory attached to the Kvant-1 module of the Mir space station and also the GRANAT orbiting X-ray observatory. Kvant made the first detection of X-rays from a supernova in 1987. His team is currently preparing the Spectrum-X-Gamma International Astrophysical Project and is working with INTEGRAL spacecraft data. At Garching he is working in the fields of theoretical high energy astrophysics and physical cosmology and participates in the data interpretation of the ESA Planck spacecraft mission.

Honors and awards

  • Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences since 1984
  • Bruno Rossi Prize in 1988 for his contributions to understanding cosmic X-ray sources, especially the structure of accretion disks around black holes, the X-ray spectra of compact objects, and the Mir-based discovery of hard X-ray emission from supernova 1987A[7]
  • Foreign Associate of USA National Academy of Sciences since 1991
  • Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1995[8]
  • Bruce Medal in 2000 for a lifetime of outstanding research in astronomy[9][10]
  • State Prize of Russian Federation in 2000 for research of Black Holes and Neutron stars with GRANAT X-ray and gamma-ray astrophysical observatory in 1990-1998[11]
  • Alexander Friedman Prize by Russian Academy of Sciences in 2002 for the publications on the reduction of brightness of cosmic microwave background radiation in the direction of clusters of galaxies[11]
  • Heineman Prize in 2003 for outstanding work in astrophysics[12]
  • Gruber Prize in Cosmology in 2003 for pioneering studies on the nature of the cosmic microwave background and its interaction with intervening matter that led to new cosmological models[13]
  • Member of German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina since 2003
  • Foreign Member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2004[14]
  • International Member of the American Philosophical Society since 2007[15]
  • Crafoord Prize in 2008 for decisive contributions to high-energy astrophysics and cosmology.[16]
  • Henry Norris Russell Lectureship in 2008[17]
  • Karl Schwarzschild Medal of the German Astronomische Gesellschaft in 2008.[18]
  • Foreign Member of the Royal Society since 2009
  • King Faisal International Prize for Science (Physics) (2009)
  • Kyoto Prize (2011)[19]
  • Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics from the Franklin Institute (2012)[20]
  • Einstein Professorship (2014) (Chinese Academy of Sciences)
  • Dirac Medal, (ICTP) (2019)[21] jointly with Viatcheslav Mukhanov and Alexei Starobinsky
  • Nick Kylafis Lectureship in 2019



  1. "Rashid Sunyaev" (in en). 
  2. Sunyaev RA; Zel'dovich YB (1969). "The interaction of matter and radiation in a hot-model universe". Astrophys. Space Sci. 4 (3): 301–16. doi:10.1007/BF00661821. Bibcode1969Ap&SS...4..301Z. 
  3. Sunyaev RA; Zel'dovich YB (1970). "Small-scale fluctuations of relic radiation". Astrophys. Space Sci. 7 (1): 3–19. doi:10.1007/BF00653471. Bibcode1970Ap&SS...7....3S. 
  4. Sunyaev RA; Zel'dovich YB (1972). "The observations of relic radiation as a test of the nature of X-ray radiation from the clusters of galaxies". Comm. Astrophys. Space Phys. 4: 173. Bibcode1972CoASP...4..173S. 
  5. Sunyaev RA; Zel'dovich YB (1980). "Microwave background radiation as a probe of the contemporary structure and history of the universe". Annu. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 18 (1): 537–60. doi:10.1146/annurev.aa.18.090180.002541. Bibcode1980ARA&A..18..537S. 
  6. Shakura NI; Syunyaev RA (1973). "Black holes in binary systems. Observational appearance". Astron. Astrophys. 24: 337–55. Bibcode1973A&A....24..337S. 
  7. HEAD AAS Rossi Prize Winners
  8. Winners of the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society
  9. "The Bruce Medalists: Rashid Sunyaev". 
  10. "2000 ASP Annual Award Winners". 
  11. 11.0 11.1 Awards and best publications. ICR RAS
  12. Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics
  13. "The Gruber Foundation Homepage - The Gruber Foundation". 
  14. "Rashid Sunyaev". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. 
  15. "APS Member History". 
  16. "Crafoord Prize". 
  17. Henry Norris Russell Lectureship
  18. "Recipients of the Karl Schwarzschild Medal". 
  19. Kyoto Prize for Russian astronomer
  20. "Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics". Franklin Institute. 2012. 
  21. Dirac Medal 2019, ICTP

External links

tt:Räşid Sönniev