Struve Conference in Kharkov, Ukraine

On May 21-23, 2007, the Astronomical Institute of the V. N. Karazin National University (Kharkov Observatory), and the Ukrainian Astronomical Association will co-host a Scientific-Memorial Conference dedicated to Otto L. Struve. Struve, famous in the United States as one of America’s leading 20th century astrophysicists, was born in Kharkov in 1897. The son of Kharkov University Observatory director Ludwig Struve, grandson of Pulkovo director Otto W. Struve, and great-grandson of Pulkovo Observatory founder Wilhelm Struve, Otto Struve himself studied astronomy in Kharkov before being caught up in the whirlwind of the 1917 Russian revolutions and the ensuing civil war. An officer in General Anton Denikin’s Volunteer Army, Struve escaped Russia together with the remnants of Denikin’s army when the anti-Bolshevik movement collapsed. After months in a Turkish refugee camp, in 1921 Struve made his way to Yerkes Observatory, thereby beginning a long and distinguished career in the U.S.

Although well-known in the U.S., Struve was virtually a non-person in the Soviet Union. Too famous on the international scene to be ignored completely, references to Struve in Soviet literature were short and always glossed over his Kharkov roots and anti-Bolshevik past.

The May conference in Kharkov marks an important event in the restoration of Struve’s legacy in his home town. It will include the unveiling of a memorial plaque and the opening of a new history museum at the Kharkov Observatory, where a number of documents from the personal papers of Wilhelm Struve and Otto W. Struve will be on display for the first time. (A significant portion of the Wilhelm and Otto V. Struve papers are archived in Kharkov.) The conference is expected to attract astronomers and historians from Ukraine, Russia, Europe, and the U.S.

For further details and registration information, contact Organizing Committee chair Marat Balyshev in Kharkov ([email protected], +38 050 566-4988 mob. phone) or Robert McCutcheon in the Office of Environment, Science, and Technology at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow ([email protected], +7

[495] 728-5156).