Three talented young scientists earn observatory’s scholarships

Kairi janson | 30.10.2017

On October 23rd 2017 Tartu Observatory announced three annual scholarships to recognize young scientists’ achievements made while studying. This year’s recipients were Maarja Kruuse, Ave Ansper and Indrek Sünter.

2017-10-23 TO stipendiaadid.jpg

Ernst Julius Öpik scholarship – Maarja Kruuse

This year it is 20 years since the Ernst Julius Öpik scholarship was first announced. The scholarship is appointed to an astronomy student. This time Maarja Kruuse, physics PhD student in University of Tartu and junior researcher in Tartu Observatory, earned the scholarship. Her master’s degree was in mathematical statistics. Kruuse’s PhD thesis is a statistical study of the galaxy filament.

The thesis is supervised by Elmo Tempel, who has been appointed the Ernst Julius Öpik scholarship himself twice. He has also earned the Young Scientist Award of the Cultural Foundation of the President of Estonia and National Science Award in the field of exact sciences.

Ernst Julius Öpik was an Estonian astronomer and one of the founders of astronomy research in Estonia.

Juhan Ross scholarship – Ave Ansper

The Juhan Ross scholarship is appointed to an environmental physics student for their achievements. This year, the laureate is Ave Ansper, an environmental technology student in University of Tartu and trainee in Tartu Observatory.

The topic of Ansper’s thesis is „Sentinel-2/MSI applications for EU Water Framework Directive reporting purposes”. Its main purpose is to evaluate the chlorophyll a concentration, phytoplankton biomass and water clarity of small lakes in order to use the evaluations for reports regarding the European Union Water Framework Directive. According to the directive, member states of EU should aim to achieve the objective of at least good water status by defining and implementing the necessary measures within integrated programmes of measures. The supervisors of Ansper’s master’s thesis are Krista Alikas from Tartu Observatory and Piia Post from University of Tartu.

The Juhan Ross scholarship was announced for the 13th time. Juhan Ross was an Estonian atmospheric physician and ecologist.

Charles Villmann scholarship – Indrek Sünter

The Charles Villmann scholarship is earned by a space technology student for their achievements. This year the scholarship was appointed to Indrek Sünter, junior researcher in Tartu Observatory and space technology PhD student in University of Tartu. Sünter has been a key person in developing the main onboard computer of Estonia’s first student satellite ESTCube-1. He has also participated in planning of the interface of the satellite subsystems and writing the operation software. Sünter is writing his PhD thesis on the design and characterisation of subsystems and software for the nanosatellite as well. The thesis is supervised by Mart Noorma.

Currently work is being done to send ESTCube-2 in orbit. In this process, Sünter is a supervisor and coordinates meetings regarding different subsystems. Sünter is also developing cameras for European Student Earth Orbiter (ESEO).

The Charles Villmann scholarship is the youngest of the three: it was announced for the sixth time. Charles Villmann was an Estonian astronomer and atmospheric physician.

The recipients of the scholarship are decided by the Research Council of Tartu Observatory.