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Dr. Olga Przhonska passes away February 12, 2014 in Kiev, Ukraine

It is with sincere regret and sorrow that we announce the passing of Dr. Olga Przhonska - one of our most revered collaborators with the Nonlinear Optics Group of Drs. Eric Van Stryland and David Hagan.  She passed away on February 12 in Kiev, Ukraine.

Olga Przhonska was born in Dnepropetrovsk, September 18, 1946, Ukraine.  Her family relocated to Kiev, when she was 15.  In 1964, Olga entered Taras Shevchenko Kiev State University in the Physics Department and graduated in 1969 with a specialization solid-state physics.  Beginning in 1969 she worked in the Department of Photoactivity at the Institute of Physics Ukrainian Academy of Sciences.  In 1979 she defended her Ph.D. dissertation, “The investigation of structure–property relationships in spectral and lasing parameters of polymethine dyes”.  Olga published more than 150 papers in closely related fields.

Her first work outside the Ukraine in the early 90s was with Dr. Siegfried Daehne at the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing, Berlin, Germany in the laboratory for molecular spectroscopy.  During her career, besides her work at CREOL, she also worked as a visiting scientist in France, Italy and Poland.  In 1994 she won a Soros scientific travel grant and visited an international conference in LA.  This trip subsequently had a great influence on her future life in science.

Since 1996, Olga worked as a visiting scientist at CREOL, The College of Optics and Photonics at the University of Central Florida where she made significant contributions to research as well as helping supervise many former graduate students.

She is survived by her mother Zoya Dobrovolska, age 101, daughter Natasha (Natalia) Przhonskaya and husband Victor Makhankov, and granddaughter Veronica Makhankov.  She is preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Anatoly Przhonsky, who died in 1991.  He worked at the Taras Shevchenko Kiev State University in the Radio-Physics Department.

Olga liked her science, travel and her family. She was a very bright person, loving daughter, mother and grandmother. She will be missed.

Below are a few excerpts from the many students and post docs she worked with:

Arthur Dogariu: I am very sorry to hear this very bad news.  Olga was a great scientist and a very nice person to work with. It is a great loss affecting everybody who knew her. Sincere condolences to the family. She will be missed by many.

Rich Lepkowicz: Very sad to hear this. I worked very closely with Olga for the majority of graduate school, and consider her my third advisor. I still have a framed picture in my house of her and I from my graduation day. She will be truly missed.

Honghua Hu: I am extremely sorry about the loss of Dr. Olga Przhonska.  She was not only a research professor to me but also my mentor who taught me not just science but also passion of life.  My PhD dissertation research would not have been possible without her knowledge and patience; and my life in U.S. would not have been so fruitful without her help. 

Joel Hales: That is truly sad news. My wife Katie and I had many opportunities to work with Olga during graduate school and she was always a passionate and eager teacher who became a good friend to both of us.  Our sympathies go out to her family and we will miss her much.

Davorin Peceli: This is so shocking. I had no idea she was sick. She helped me a lot with organic part of my research and my publications.  

Lazaro Padilha: It is extremely sad. As my colleagues pointed out, we all have learned a lot from her, and she will be missed by all of us who have had the opportunity to work and learn from her.

Gero Nootz: This is very unexpected and sad news. Olga was a passionate teacher and researcher. We all have learned from her and will miss her dearly.

Claudiu Cirloganu: Extremely sad and sudden news... She was very kind and helpful to so many of us during our time in CREOL. She will be deeply missed.

Raluca Negres: I am so sad to hear this news. I’ve had the privilege of working with Olga for several years during my graduate studies and will miss her so. She was a very nice person and an outstanding researcher, my sincere condolences to the family. 

Posted Friday, February 28, 2014

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