The Slovenia Times

Largest optical science library in Latin America named after Slovenian researcher

Science & Education
Marija Strojnik at an event at the Technical Museum in 2019. Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA

The Mexican science agency has named its optics library, the largest in Latin America, after world-renowned Slovenian astrophysicist and engineer Marija Strojnik.

Based in the city of León, central Mexico, the library, part of the Mexican Centre for Research in Optics (CIO), now officially bears the name Biblioteca Marija Strojnik Pogacar, incorporating the last names of both of the researcher's parents.

Specialising in optical navigation and infrared astronomy, Strojnik is one of the most prominent Slovenian scientists. She has made a name for herself in the US and Mexico, working on NASA's space projects, including the Cassini mission to the outer planets.

She is best known for developing an autonomous system for optical navigation based on CCD technology which is currently used in nearly all commercial aircraft and numerous spacecraft.

Rafael Espinosa Luna, General Director of the CIO, said at the ceremony last week that the Optics Research Centre is honoured to name its library after Strojnik, underscoring that this is "a homage to preserving and spreading knowledge of humanity's most important contributions to optics, photonics and other scientific domains."

"This is a public recognition for a stellar career of one of the most prominent CIO researchers, who is also one of the most well-respected researchers in Mexico," noted head of the Mexican National Council for Science and Technology Maria Elena Alvarez-Buylla Roces, according to the news portal El Sol de León.

Strojnik said at the ceremony that books lead to knowledge, culture and values, and describe the sufferings and dreams of humankind. "I like libraries because they have a lot of books, there is nothing more beautiful in life than books. I may have done a lot of bad things in my life, but what I am proud of is that I taught my daughters to love books," she said.

The 72-year-old also serves as regents professor at the Centre for Research in Optics in León, and was elected president of the Scientific Research Honour Society Sigma Xi in July for a three-year term.

In 2021, Sigma Xi presented her with an award for her contribution to infrared astronomy and exoplanetary research, while also highlighting her teaching, promotion of science, and helping women and minorities in pursuing a career in science.


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