Prepared for Potential Scholarship Applicants from Africa and Ethiopians Around the World
(Abebe Kebede: Ethiopian Scientific and Academic Network)

[Go to ESciAN][Ethiopian Physical Society[Space-Africa][IYA2009-NASA Space Ambassador]

Leiden Observatory and the Leids Universiteitfonds have pleasure in inviting applications for the fourth J. Mayo Greenberg Scholarship Prize.

Mrs. Naomi Greenberg and family members of the late Professor J. Mayo Greenberg, the distinguished Leiden astrophysicist, have generously provided funds for this scholarship in memory of Professor Greenberg. Additional funding provided by the Kruytbosch Legacy, the Leids Universiteitfonds and Leiden Observatory will enable the Scholarship Prize to be awarded annually.

The purpose of the prize is to provide an opportunity for a talented graduate student to carry out research and/or receive education at Leiden Observatory in one or more of the fields that were of interest to Professor Greenberg. These include:

* Laboratory astrophysics,

* Dust in the early Universe,

* Dust in the Milky Way and other galaxies

* Comet formation,

* Origin of life.

Although applications will be considered from the whole world, preference will be given to applicants resident in developing countries. Candidates should have sufficient educational background in the field to benefit from attendance at graduate courses or participation in the research.

The Scholarship Prize will support a visit to Leiden for a maximum duration of 9 months. In very exceptional circumstances there may be a possibility of extending the visit for a longer period.

Applications for the 2009 Prize should be received before 30 November 2008. These should include (i) a curriculum vitae, with details of relevant background, (ii) a statement containing the purpose for which the grant is requested and (iii) a motivation for the request. Applicants should arrange for 2 - 3 references to be sent under separate cover.

Applications should be addressed to:

J. Mayo Greenberg Scholarship Prize,

Postbus 9513, 2300 RA Leiden,


Applications can also be sent via email to drost@strw.leidenuniv.nl, with the relevant documentation as attachments in MSWord, latex, pdf or postcript format.

The results of the selection will be announced on or before 31 December 2008.

About this site:  This site is not related to any entity related to ths J. Mayo Greenberg scholarship or the owners or the promoter of the scholarship. The contents in this website are intended to inform Ethiopian aspiring space scientists about the person and his achievements so that they , if they choose to become space explores, will use the example of J. Mayo Greenberg.

Update November 29, 2001

train spectrum
Dr. J. Mayo Greenberg


On Thursday November 29, we learned that Dr. J. Mayo Greenberg passed away peacefully. Mayo is remembered as a great scientist and a leader in the field of insterstellar and interplanetary matter. With a background in the field of light scattering, he became director of a new "Laboratory for Astrophysics" at Leiden University in the Netherlands in 1975, which was later followed by several other such laboratories in the world. Over the years, numerous students and post-docs made many discoveries into the physical processes on interstellar grains and in comets, which Mayo always knew to put in a big picture. He was particularly known for the work on "yellow stuff", the organic matter on insterstellar grains that is a product of the UV irradiation of an icy frost in dense molecular clouds. Over time, Mayo's interests shifted from tiny far away dust grains to larger dust agregates in nearby comets, culminating in his recent interest in meteors. In April of 2000, Mayo participated in the Leonid MAC Workshop in Tel Aviv, organised by two of his former students, and formulated his ideas on comets as related to meteors in "From Comets to Meteors". Mayo was the first to submit his manuscript. Thanks to Mayo, I was able to pursue a career in meteor studies. I remember my former thesis adviser as a great inspiration and he is sadly missed - Peter Jenniskens

In memoriam
J. Mayo Greenberg (1922 - 2001)

J. Mayo Greenberg, one of the great pioneers in space science, passed away on November 29, 2001 at the age of 79. He will remain in our memory as an exceptionally enthusiastic scientist, who succeeded long before the new term astrobiology was coined - to build the bridge across classical disciplines, from astrochemistry to exobiology.

Mayo Greenberg was born in 1922 in Baltimore and began his studies on physics at the John Hopkins University in Baltimore in 1937 where he started his Ph.D. studies in 1939. After an interruption during the second world war, he finished his thesis in theoretical physics in 1948 with a theory on the scattering of radiation by matter. His scientific career included research activities at the universities of Delaware and Maryland, until in 1952 he became assistant professor at the Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy (New York) and shortly thereafter he received a full professorship. His interest in astronomy was awakened during his visits at the university of Leiden where in 1961 and 1968 he spent two years as visiting professor to work with Professors van Oort and van de Hulst on astronomical issues. In 1970, he went to the university of New York in Albany, before in 1975 he followed a call from Henk van de Hulst to establish and direct the Laboratory for Astrophysics at the university of Leiden. Since that time, he complemented his theoretical studies on the chemical evolution of interstellar dust by experiments, for which he constructed a sophisticated system simulating ISM conditions. His work was rewarded when his model of comets based on interstellar dust substantially contributed to the interpretation of the Giotto data obtained from comet Halley fly-by.

Mayo Greenberg soon extended his studies from the evolution of interstellar dust and the composition of comets to questions on the origin of life. This was, when I became acquainted with Mayo and his work. In 1983, he joined us, a group of biologists and biophysicists, to make use of the new opportunities offered by experimentation in Earth orbit. Together with Horst Becker, Klaus Dose and Horst-Dieter Mennigmann, we proposed to the European Space Agency an "Exobiological Unit" to use the unique space environment for studying questions referring to the upper boundary of the biosphere, to interplanetary transfer of life, and the organic chemistry in interstellar dust grains, respectively, which finally materialized with a 9 month mission of the European Retrievable Carrier EURECA in 1992. I will never forget the stimulating and inspiring discussions we had during the preparatory phase of the "Exobiological unit", not to forget the splendid hospitality at the Greenbergs, when the group met in Leiden. On Mayo's initiative, we started to develop a follow-on project which would provide both, extraterrestrial UV radiation and extremely low temperatures. EURECA was just a first stepping stone in this direction. Others have to complete the work.

Education and popularization of science was very much emphasized by Mayo Greenberg. This engagement becomes evident by the enormous number of students from all over the world who were trained in his Laboratory of Astrophysics and received their Ph.D. there. From his more than 300 publications, at least 50 appeared in the last 5 years when he was already in the high seventies. Mayo was also Director of the annual N.A.T.O. Advanced Study Institute on space chemistry and related topics in Erice, Sicily, and he has translated his work to the public though a variety of interviews for news papers, journals and on television. With his last public outreach, the article "the secrets of stardust" in the December 2000 issue of Scientific American, written by a great pioneer in astrobiology, he says good bye to us.

Gerda Horneck
ISSOL Secretary

Mayo with his yellow stuff

Mayo's dust cycle

Books by J. Mayo Greenberg

New Extragalactic Perspectives in the New South Africa : Proceedings of the International Conference on "Cold Dust and Galaxy Morphology" Held in Johannesburg, South Africa, January 22-26, 1996
by David L. Block, David L. Block (Editor), J. Mayo Greenberg,

International Conference on "Cold Dust and Galaxy Morphology  June 1996, Hardcover

Proceedings of the Workshop on Laboratory and Observational Infrared Spectra of Interstellar Dust Held in Hilo, Hawaii, 18-20 July 1983
by R.D. Wolstencroft, J. Mayo Greenberg
January 1984, Paperback

Chemistry in Space by J. Mayo Greenberg (Editor) , V. Pirronello (Editor)

Formation and Evolution of Solids in Space by J. Mayo Greenberg (Editor) , Aigen Li (Editor)

The Chemistry of Life's Origins : Proceedings of the NATO ASI and the 2nd International School of Space Chemistry, Erice-Scilily, Italy, 20-30 October 1991 by J. Mayo Greenberg (Editor) , V. Pirronello (Editor) , C. X. Mendoza-Gomez (Editor)

The Cosmic Dust Connection : Proceedings of the NATO Advanced Study Institute, Erice, Italy, June 6-17, 1994 by J. Mayo Greenberg (Editor) , J. Mayo Greenberg

Sample Articles by J. Mayo Greenberg
Author index Archives

FROM COMETS TO METEORS: A summary of comet nucleus and dust properties is used to suggest a basis for predicting the properties of meteor shower particles originating as comet debris.