The Gender Balance Fostering Commission (TCDGK/GBFC), within the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGCA), was established to monitor gender balance and to develop suggestions in order to foster gender balance in the Turkish civil aviation sector, to exert effort toward creating equal opportunities in the selection of aviation professions and to encourage, in particular, women towards education and training in fields related to aviation.
A decision was taken by the Commission to keep a register which is called the “Registry of First Aviatrices” in order to ensure national and international recognition of the first or pioneering women, who flew or contributed to flight, significantly contributed to development of aviation, or pioneered and raised awareness in the field.
On October 15, 2019, Prof. Yurdanur Tulunay, the first Turkish female Near-Earth Space professor, was presented registry certification for “The First Turkish Aviatrices” by Bahri Kesici, Director General of the DGCA.
It is a great feeling to be part of such a process and breathe the same air with the individuals who have a broad vision in our country. One thing that crossed my mind is the fact that we seem to only become aware of these precious people when they are memorialized and when they are granted awards. Do we need each other only to applaud for a few moments? It is obvious that they don`t need our applause, but we can all benefit so much in terms of being inspired by those around us, if we could only hear what is happening around us. I don’t necessarily need to be an aerospace engineer, an aircraft engineer, but feel that I need to know of the existence of such extraordinary people, as they are valuable assets in our country and we can all draw upon their inspiration and become hopeful just because of their efforts and accomplishments. Knowing and being aware of the exceptional efforts of others brings opportunity and it cultivates hope for me, and for others as we explore limitless possibilities and potential.
Of course, most of us do not read scientific studies, articles; only a few of us follow such studies with intellectual emotions even if they are not in our domain. It is very important now and for our future to spread these types of studies so that these distinguished individuals receive recognition, even as simple as getting a routine spot on the news agenda, a way to let the public gain some insight into these areas. Now, let`s learn a bit more about our valuable Professor …
She was born on December 11, 1940 in Istanbul. She completed her Ph.D. degree in “Space Research” at the University of Birmingham. She started her activities in 1962 at California University and Fordham University in the US, then she attended the University of Birmingham in the UK, NASA Goddard Space Center in the USA, SERC Appleton and CRL Rutherford Appleton Laboratories in the UK, the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) in Japan, Middle East Technical University (METU), Istanbul Technical University (ITU), Selçuk University and Fırat University in Turkey.
Prof. Tulunay served as a faculty member, Deputy Dean, Head of Department, Faculty Senator and as a member of various executive boards and commissions at ITU between 1974-76 and 1983-90. She established the ITU Astronautical Engineering Department in 1986 as Head of the Department. In addition, as the Dean of the Faculty of Aeronautics and Astronautics at ITU (1997-2005), she also received the “ABET Substantial Equivalency Certificate”, a part of her goals for the Faculty.
She determined the sectional dynamic correlation between the ionosphere and magnetosphere and validated it with satellite data. For example, by defining the “main ionospheric trough”, she has introduced an innovation in the understanding of the dynamics of energy interaction between the Sun and the Earth. In recent years, she has been contributing to non-linear modeling studies on communication and space weather and satellite orbital dynamics with data-driven models.
Since 1973, Prof. Tulunay introduced the aerospace academic major in Turkey, initiated education in this area, created research opportunities, and adopted the mission of educating people as well as representing Turkey at a high level at international scientific and technological events. In recent years, she has been conducting studies on Near-Earth Space physics and technology, especially in the context of communication environments and space weather. Our Dearest Professor has also been continuing her studies as a Board Member of the Turkey Space Agency.
Prof. Tulunay has a total of 227 original publications as of 7 Nov 2019, of which (70/227) are in international journals monitored by the SCI; (16/228) are presented as an “article in a book” and (141/227) are in peer reviewed proceedings of international meetings or conferences. As a typical measure on both productivity and citation impact, a “Google Scholar Academic Search”, which started in 1971, indicates that there are 1,256 cited publications and 297 of these are recorded only between (2014-2019).
I would like to state that it is an honor to have met her and that I am grateful to all the stakeholders who have provided such an opportunity.
I hope that we will increase our awareness of the value that we can bring as a nation...