For Tõnu Viik's 80th birthday
On December 12, astronomer Tõnu Viik, counsellor or Tartu Observatory, celebrates his 80th birthday.
Dear Tõnu! You are joining the club of the 80-year-olds. As per now, it does not have many members from Tõravere. The club mostly consists of the ones who, after graduating from university in the beginning of 1960s, came to work at the new observatory that was soon to be fully constructed.
Although the observatory wasn't part of the university at the time, the mental connection was there, and now, your working experience at the University of Tartu can be considered 56 years. True, the great Soviet Union took two years of that period, thinking that army service is the best job for a young phycisist.
You are one of the pillars of Tõravere, especially of course in the years 1985–1999, when you directed the entire observatory, and actually also the village's life.
Despite all the leading and societal positions – one of the greatest of which has been President of the Estonian Naturalists' Society – you have left your mark in theoretical astrophysics. It has been about the complexities of light transfer in the atmospheres of stars and planets, and the analytical methods to research them.
Of the same importance is your will and skill to introduce the secrets of nature to others. You yourself have counted there to be more than 500 public lectures, radio and television interviews, and other presentations. Let's add being an excursion guide in Tõravere, popular science literature and of course lectures at the university, and we have a second life's work.
The biographies you have composed about past astronomers make for interesting reading and listening material – and not only for the experts of the field. In the past years, the long-established Old Observatory Calendar has been made under your watchful eye.
Your almost daily kind words, jokes, and new anecdotes are so cheering that it is difficult for your colleagues to return the favour. However, at least accept our humble but heartfelt wishes for you to maintain your lively spirit, sense of humour, and health.
Colleagues from Tartu Observatory
To celebrate Tõnu Viik's birthady, an astronomy seminar is held today (November 12) at 14 in tribute to him.