From amateur to professional astronomy
Anatoly Miroshnichenko was born in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg, Russia). As a teenager, he became an amateur astronomer.
He went on to study astronomy in college, and explains that his training took place in the math "faculty" â€” the Russian equivalent of a college â€” "because of a belief of Academician Sobolev that math is the basics for astronomy."
Sobolev, he says, was well known for the theory of moving envelopes of stars, and reigned over astronomy in Leningrad and later St. Petersburg from the 1950s to 1999. "At other Soviet universities, astronomy was always within the Physics faculty," Anatoly says.
His university thesis was on galactic supernovae. Anatoly explains that his initial degree corresponds to something in between a bachelor's and master's degree in the United States. He did his doctoral work on hot emission-line stars, finishing in 1992.
From the USSR to US
Anatoly has worked for the historic Pulkovo Observatory near Leningrad, which is called the Main Astronomical Observatory of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. He worked one summer at the University of Kentucky, and later accepted a one-year post-doctoral position at the University of Toledo in Ohio. Next he spent a year-long stint back in Russia, before receiving a NASA grant which he used to return to Toledo. He stayed there for the next five years, holding several different research positions.
In August 2005, Anatoly joined the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He and his wife Tatyana have three daughters (Anya, Olga and Nadya) and two sons (Valdimir and Alexander).
Associate Professor, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Ph.D., Astronomy, Pulkovo Observatory, St. Petersburg, Russia
M.S., Mathematics and Mechanics, Leningrad State University, Leningrad, USSR