Rashid Alievich Sunyaev

Rashid Alievich Sunyaev


Date of Birth
March 1, 1943

Rashid Sunyaev was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and educated at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and Moscow University. The head of the High Energy Astrophysics Department of the Russian Academy of Sciences from 1982 to 2002 and chief scientist of the Academy’s Space Research Institute since 1992, he holds several concurrent positions, including editor-in-chief of Astronomy Letters. He currently divides his time between Moscow and Garching, Germany, where he is an emeritus scientific member of the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics. He worked for several years with his teacher, Yakov B. Zel’dovich, in the Moscow Institute of Applied Mathematics, where the two proposed what is known as the Sunyaev-Zel’dovich effect, an important method for determining absolute distances and hence the Hubble constant from the effect of gas in galaxy clusters on the cosmic microwave background radiation. Sunyaev and N. Shakura developed a model of disk accretion onto black holes, 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 built and operated the Kvant X-ray observatory attached to the MIR space station and the GRANAT orbiting X-ray observatory. Kvant made the first detection of X-rays from a supernova in 1987. His team also prepared the Spectrum-Roentgen-Gamma (SRG) International Astrophysical Project, which was launched in 2019, and at Garching he worked on two experiments on the ESA Planck mission. He travels and lectures widely. Note: His name is also transliterated as Syunyaev or Siuniaev. The only correct spelling is in the Cyrillic alphabet: Рашид Алиевич Сюняев.

Personal Web Page

at Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics

Presentation of Bruce medal

Mercury 29, 4, 5 (2000).

Other awards

American Astronomical Society, Henry Norris Russell Lectureship, 2008. (press release)
American Astronomical Society, High-Energy Astrophysics Division, Rossi Prize, 1988.
American Institute of Physics & American Astronomical Society, Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics, 2003.
Astronomische Gesellschaft, Karl Schwarzschild Medal, 2008.
King Faisal Foundation, King Faisal International Prize for Science, 2009.
Peter Gruber Foundation, Gruber Cosmology Prize, 2003 [report in Physics Today 56, 4, 78 (April 2003)].
Inamori Foundation, Kyoto Prize, 2011.
International Academy of Astronautics, Basic Science Award, 1991.
Royal Astronomical Society, Gold medal, 1995, presented by C. Jordan, QJRAS 37, 277 (1996).
Royal Society and COSPAR, Massey Award, 1998.
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Crafoord prize, 2008.
Russian Academy of Sciences, Alexander Friedmann Prize, 2002.

Biographical materials

Biographical statement on award of the Gruber prize.


At launch of MAP, 2001
Chandra Chronicle, 2012
Max Planck Institute
Professor Sunyaev’s own photo album

Named after him

Minor Planet #11759 Sunyaev
Sunyaev-Zel’dovich effect [with Yakov B. Zel'dovich]



Other References: Historical

Search ADS for works about Sunyaev.

“Rashid Sunyaev wins 1988 Rossi Prize,” Physics Today 42, 4, 90-92 (1989).

Sunyaev, Rashid A., “When We Were Young,” in Sunyaev, Rashid A., ed., Zeldovich Reminiscences (Chapman & Hall, Boca Raton, FL, 2004), pp. 233-44.

Other References: Scientific

Search ADS for works by Sunyaev.

Shakura, N.I. & R.A. Sunyaev, “Black holes in binary systems. Observational appearance,” Astronomy & Astrophysics 24, 337-55 (1973).

Zeldovich, Ya.B. & R.A. Sunyaev, “Intergalactic Gas in Galactic Clusters, the Microwave Background Radiation and Cosmology,” in Astrophysics and Cosmic Physics (Izdatel'stvo Nauka, Moscow, 1982), p. 9-65. [in Russian]

Siuniaev, R. A., et al, “Highlights from the KVANT mission,” (COSPAR, International Academy of Astronautics, and IAU, Plenary Meeting, 27th, Symposium on X-ray and Gamma-rayAstronomy, 14th, Espoo, Finland, July 18-29, 1988) Advances in Space Research 10, 2, (1990), p. 41-46.

Lewin, Walter H.G., George W. Clark, & Rashid A. Sunyaev, eds., High-Energy Astrophysics: American and Soviet Perspectives, Proceedings from the U.S.-USSR Workshop on High-Energy Astrophysics, June 18-July 1, 1989 (National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 1991).

Ostriker, J.P., G. I. Barenblatt & R. A. Sunyaev, eds., Zeldovich, Yakov Borisovich: Selected works, translated by A. Granik and F. Jackson from the 1985 Russian edition. Volume 2: Particles, Nuclei, and the Universe (Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 1993).

Sazonov, S.Yu. & R.A. Sunyaev, “Gas Heating Inside Radio Sources to Mildly Relativistic Temperatures via Induced Compton Scattering,” Astronomy Letters 27, 481-492 (2001).

Tauber, J.A., et al, “Planck Pre-launch Status: The Planck Mission,” Astronomy & Astrophysics 520, A1 (2010).

Zhuravleva, I., et al., “Resonant Scattering in the Perseus Cluster: Spectral Model for Constraining Gas Motions with Astro-H,” MNRAS 435, 3111-21 (2013).


Other Works: Popularizations, Fiction, Texts, etc.

Meier, D.L. & R.A. Sunyaev, “Primeval Galaxies,” Scientific American 241, 130 (1979).