Otto Struve

Otto StruveOtto Struve (1897-1963) is the outstanding American astronomer, one of the largest astrophysicists of XX century, and the last representative of a Struve astronomical dynasty. He was born on August 12, 1897 in Kharkov, Ukraine. After the ending of the Kharkov man's grammar school (with a distinction) he has acted in the Kharkov University (physical and mathematical faculty), but has soon been compelled to interrupt he study: Struve has been called up for military service. Having ended Mihaylov artillery school in Petrograd in 1917-1918 he took part in operations of the First World War on the Turkish front. In 1919 O. Struve has ended the Kharkov University with the diploma of the First degree. In July, 1919 he has been mobilized in Voluntary (White) Russian Army, and participated in operations in a Drozdoff's regiment. After defeat of White Russian Army in November, 1920 Struve was evacuated to Turkey (Gallipoli). In 1921 he has moved in the USA.Struve family tree
For 1921-1950 O.Struve worked in the Yerkes Observatory (at the University of Chicago): for 1932-1947 he was a director of this institution. Struve is the professor of astronomy of the University of Chicago (from 1932), the founder and the first director of the McDonald Observatory in Texas (1939-1947), for 1947-1949 he managed faculty of astronomy of the University of Chicago. In 1950 O. Struve has headed an astronomical faculty of the University of California (Berkeley), and he became a director of the Leushner Observatory of University of California (1950-1959). In May 1959 Struve became as the first director of the National Radio Astronomical Observatory in the USA (Green Bank).
The basic scientific interests of O. Struve are concerns to stellar spectroscopy. Struve during many years was engaged in studying of spectroscopic binaries. He possesses a merit of an estimation of their share among stars of equal spectral classes (43 % of all B-stars). Struve has found empirical dependence “the period of rotation of a star - the amplitude of beam speed” that has allowed to estimate average value of the sum of weights of these stars, and to receive criterion of their difference from short-period Cepheid.
In 1929 O. Struve with an academician G. A. Shajn has developed a method of definition of speed of axial rotation of stars, they have found speeds of rotation of the enormous number of stars. It has been proved that quickly rotating stars have expiration of substance from equatorial areas that results in formation of environments and rings. Struve and his employee K. T. Elvy have established existence of regular dependence between spectral type of a star, and speed of axial rotation.
O. Struve among the first men has determined the importance of research of diffuse substances in the Galaxy. He has analyzed interstellar lines of ionized calcium, and calculated density of interstellar substance (1929). He has established the last takes part in rotation of the Galaxy, and makes about 1 per cent of full weight of stars in unit of volume. O. Struve for the first time has estimated distance up to the Center of the Galaxy. He also posesses a merit of detection of hydrogen in interstellar space with the help developed (with K. T. Elvy) the nebular spectrograph (1937). O.Struve's extensive bibliography totals about 1000 works.
Due to outstanding O. Struve's administrative talents, the Yerkes Observatory began one of leading international astronomical centers of science for many years of his management. In 1939 under initiative of O. Struve, and due to active his participation the McDonald Observatory has been created at the University of Texas (Mount Loke), and it becoming in due course the largest center of astrophysical researches in the United States. O. Struve took part in creation of a 42-meter radio telescope of the National Radio Astronomical Observatory in the USA.
O. Struve's scientific and administrative activity has received wide social recognition. He was a member of many Academies of Sciences of the different countries; Struve has a honorable Doctor of nine largest Universities of the world. In 1944 O. Struve has been awarded with the Gold Medal of the London Royal Astronomical Society; the K. Bruce Gold Medal of the Pacific Astronomical Society (1948), the G. Draper Medal of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (1950), the Janssen Medal of the Academy of Sciences of Paris (1955), and many others.
In 1948 O. Struve has been elected by the Vice-president of the International Astronomical Union (IAU); for 1952-1955 he was as the President of IAU. On April 6, 1963 Otto Struve has died after long illness in Berkeley (California).