Google Doodle commemorates the iconic Turkish astrophysicist

Google Doodle celebrates Dilhan Eryurt’s life with a caricature of the late Turkish astrophysicist.

The image sees Eryurt, who died in 2012, looking at stars and planets, whose origins he helped discover for NASA in the 1960s.

Born in western Turkey in 1926, Eryurt graduated with a degree in mathematics and astrophysics from Istanbul University shortly after the end of World War II, before moving to Canada in 1959 to work for the International Atomic Energy Agency .

She started working at NASA in Washington DC two years later, and reportedly remained for 12 years as the sole female astronomer at the space agency for much of the time.

Collaborating with one of the founders of nuclear astrophysics, Alastair GW Cameron, Eryurt worked on the evolution of stars, particularly under the conditions necessary for the formation of one.

Finally it showed that, contrary to the received wisdom, the sun does not heat up, but cools and loses its shine.

Their research contributed not only to scientific knowledge, but also helped NASA engineers develop the technology required for their lunar rocket trips of the 1960s and 1970s.

In 1969, she was awarded the Apollo Achievement Award for her contribution to the first landing of the Apollo 11 mission.

Eryurt then moved to the University of California, before returning to Turkey in 1973, establishing an astrophysics department at the Ankara Middle East Technical University.

She rose to become Dean of the university’s department of scientific literature before retiring in 1993.

Eryurt died in his hometown of Ankara in 2012, at the age of 85.