Mälestusi Ernst Öpikust


{ U. Öpik Geodeet 6(30) 1994 16 }


Reminiscences of Ernst Öpik


U. Öpik


10, Portman Road, Melksham, Wiltshire, England, SN12 8AW


Üheks tähtsaks teguriks Ernst Öpiku edukusel uurijana oli tema intensiivne huvi astronoomia vastu ja teaduse vastu üldse. Tema huvid olid aga palju laialdasemad ja ei piirdunud teadusega; kuid mida vanemaks ta sai, seda vähem leidis ta aega muuks tegevuseks peale oma elukutselise töö astronoomia alal. Näitena asjadest, mis teda ei huvitanud, võiks mainida spordivõistlusi.


One of the questions raised by the preceding speaker, Dr. de Groot, was: what was the secret of Ernst Öpik's success as a research scientist? Success in research undoubtedly depends on several factors, but I believe that in my father's case an important factor was his intense interest, not only in astronomy but in science in general - and knowledge of a wider scientific field was essential in some of his work, for instance, in that on the problem of ice ages.


My father's interests were actually much wider and were not restricted to scientific topics. He would gladly discuss a great variety of subjects and would have interesting things to say on them. If I were asked to list his interests, then I would prefer to list the things that did not interest him - the list would then be shorter. And one of the things in which he was not interested was competitive sport as reported in the news media. Some of his activities could, indeed, be classified as sport. As a non-car-owner he walked much, and occasionally he would go on a longish walk. In the 1930's he operated a sailing boat on Lake Võrtsjärv, on which we, his family, made many enjoyable journeys during summer holidays. However, he would never listen to sports news on the radio, nor would he ever go to watch a football match.


My impression was that, as time went on, my father had less and less time to pursue his interests other than astronomy. I regretted this, and he may have regretted it, too, but perhaps it was inevitable: the number of tasks that he felt he ought not to refuse to undertake kept on increasing, and the amount of correspondence with astronomers all over the world also increased. Fortunately even in his old age he found time to play piano from time to time, albeit not as often as both he and I would have wished.


Editorial note:

After having addressed the conference, Mr. Uuno Öpik, the son of Ernst Öpik, handed over to the Museum of the History of Tartu University the Gold Medal awarded to E. Öpik by the Royal Astronomical Society in 1975. He pointed out that this medal was one of the six Gold Medals awarded to E. Öpik by various institutions during his lifetime.


Toimetuse märkus:

Pärast oma sõnavõttu annetas hr. Uuno Öpik, Ernst Öpiku poeg, Tartu Ülikooli Ajaloo Muuseumile kuldmedali, mille E. Öpik oli saanud Briti Kuninglikult Astronoomiaseltsilt 1975. aastal. Ta märkis, et omaelu jooksul oli E. Öpikut kuus korda autasustatud kuldmedaliga.