Betim Muco (1947 - 2015)

 Betim Muco (1947 - 2015) Dr. Betim Muço, an internationally acclaimed seismologist, writer and translator passed away unexpectedly in Rockville, Maryland on January 15, 2015, at the age of 68.

Dr. Muço was born in Tirana, the capital of Albania, on January 21, 1947. He graduated in nuclear physics from the University of Tirana in 1970, specializing in seismology. He held a PhD in Earth Sciences. Dr. Muço's scientific career spans more than four decades. He contributed enormously to the practice and development of seismology in Albania and the Balkans through his work at the Albanian Seismological Institute (1974 -- 2001). He was head of the institution from 1993 to 1997. As director of the Seismological Network of Albania, he led several international and regional projects and published a wide array of scientific articles and books. From 1998 to 2005, Dr. Muço co-led two NATO Science for Peace projects on seismology. In 2001, Dr. Muço moved to the United States with his family. He received U.S. citizenship as an "Exceptional Ability Individual in the Sciences and Arts, who would substantially benefit prospectively the national economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare of the United States."

During the last fifteen years, Dr. Muço lived and worked with his family in Rockville, Maryland, where he continued his scientific work. He was Science Editor and Translator at General Dynamics Information Technology and a consultant for the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) in Washington D.C. He presented scientific papers in many conferences in the U.S. and Europe. His most recent contribution is a series of papers on the correlation between rain and earthquakes in the state of Virginia, which were well received by the scientific community.

Dr. Muço's life passion was literature. He was an acclaimed writer and poet. His first poems were published when he was in high school in 1967 in Albania. He also wrote the lyrics of many songs, popular to this day. He went on to write and publish more than 25 books of poetry, short stories, novels and essays. He also wrote children's books, including three collections of fairy tales, dedicated to each of his three children. Dr. Muço has won several literary awards in Albania and overseas. Many of his poems and short stories have been translated and published in literary anthologies, journals and magazines in English, Russian, French, Dutch, Romanian and Turkish.

Dr. Muço was also a distinguished translator bringing into Albanian works of Graham Greene, Saul Bellow, Yukio Mishima, Reiner Maria Rilke, James Joyce, Vladimir Nabokov, and Alice Munro. In 2008, he selected and translated into Albanian an "Anthology of World Poetry of the 20th Century" which included translations of selected works by 135 world poets -- making it one of the most comprehensive collections of poetry ever published in Albanian. On the evening before he passed away, he was putting the finishing touches to his latest novel, "The Stars Are Quite Close," to be published post-mortem.

Dr. Muço was honorary consul of Japan in Albania in the 1990s. During a post-doctorate program at the University of Tokyo (1990-1991), he developed very close ties with Japan, its culture and especially its community of seismologists. Upon his return, he published a book of haiku (the first ever in Albanian) as well as a collection of essays on Japanese customs and culture.

Betim Muço is survived by his beloved wife Martha, two daughters Sagita and Fedora, his son Zinart and daughter-in-law Alsa. He also leaves behind his loving sisters Tefta, Jeta and Donika.

Downloaded from a link contributed by Marta Muco, Betim's wife