Otto von Struve

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Otto Struve (1949)

Otto von Struve (also: Otto Struve ; born August 12, 1897 in Charkow , Russian Empire ; † April 6, 1963 in Berkeley (California) , United States ) was a Russian-American astronomer of German-Baltic descent.


Struve was the son of the mathematician Ludwig von Struve and the nephew of Hermann von Struve . After finishing school, Struve began to study astronomy at Kharkov University from 1914. His studies were interrupted by the Russian Civil War in which he fought on the side of the White Army . After the war he finished his studies and also taught as a lecturer for a short time.

In 1921 he emigrated to the USA and was soon working as assistant for stellar spectroscopy at the Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. This observatory belonged to the University of Chicago . Struve received his PhD in 1923 and the following year he became a lecturer in Yerkes. As such, he married Mary Martha Lanning in 1925. Since the marriage remained childless, Otto von Struve remained the last offspring of the great Struve family of astronomers .

In 1927 he was made an assistant professor and in the same year he received US citizenship. In 1930 he was promoted to associate professor and in 1931 to assistant director . In the years 1932 to 1947 Struve was director of the Yerkes Observatory and at the same time he was professor of astrophysics at the University of Chicago.

When the University of Texas opened its McDonald Observatory in the Davis Mountains in 1939 , Struve was entrusted with the management.

In 1950, Struve resigned from Austin and Chicago for health reasons and accepted an appointment from the University of California, Berkeley . There he taught at the astronomical faculty and headed the Leuschner Observatory , which belonged to this faculty.

In 1952 Struve was elected President of the International Astronomical Union . He held this office until 1955. Four years later, Struve was appointed director of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory . He held this post until the end of his life.

In addition to his work as editor of the Astrophysical Journal , he dealt with extensive spectroscopic observations and theoretical studies on stars with extensive gas envelopes, variable stars, binary stars and interstellar matter.


In 1937 Struve was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society , in 1942 to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences . Since 1953 he was an honorary member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh . In 1954 he was accepted as a member (" Fellow ") in the Royal Society . Since December 22, 1958 he was a corresponding member of the Académie des sciences .



  • Stellar evolution - an exploration from the observatory. Princeton University Press, Princeton 1950.
  • Elementary Astronomy. 1959.
    • German: Astronomy - Introduction to its basics. 2nd, revised edition. de Gruyter, Berlin 1963.
  • The universe. MIT Press, Cambridge 1966.


  • Margherita Hack et al .: Modern astrophysics - a memorial to Otto Struve. Gauthier-Villars, Paris 1967.

Web links

Commons : Otto Struve  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Member History: Otto Struve. American Philosophical Society, accessed August 14, 2018 .
  2. ^ Members of the American Academy. Listed by election year, 1900-1949 ( PDF ). Retrieved September 29, 2015
  3. ^ Fellows Directory. Biographical Index: Former RSE Fellows 1783–2002. (PDF file) Royal Society of Edinburgh, accessed April 13, 2020 .
  4. entry on Struve; Otto (1897–1963) in the Archives of the Royal Society , London
  5. ^ List of members since 1666: Letter S. Académie des sciences, accessed on March 6, 2020 (French).