Jaak Aaviksoo

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Jaak Aaviksoo
Jaak Aaviksoo.jpg
Minister of Culture and Education
In office
1995–1996
Preceded by Peeter Kreitzberg
Succeeded by Rein Loik (as Minister of Education)
Jaak Allik (as Minister of Culture)
Minister of Defence
In office
2007–2011
Prime Minister Andrus Ansip
Preceded by Jürgen Ligi
Succeeded by Mart Laar
Minister of Education and Research
Incumbent
Assumed office
6 April 2011
Prime Minister Andrus Ansip
Preceded by Tõnis Lukas
Personal details
Born (1954-01-11) 11 January 1954 (age 60)
Tartu, Estonia
Nationality Estonian
Political party Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica
Alma mater University of Tartu
Profession Physicist

Jaak Aaviksoo (born 11 January 1954) is an Estonian politician and physicist, former rector of Tartu University, who has been the Estonian Minister of Defence and Minister of Education and Research. Aaviksoo is a member of the liberal conservative party Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica.

Education and career in science[edit]

Aaviksoo was born in Tartu. After finishing Tartu Secondary School No. 2 (present-day Miina Härma Gymnasium) in 1971, he entered the Tartu State University physics department in the chemistry-physics faculty and graduated cum laude in the field of theoretical physics in 1976. From 1976 to 1992 he was first junior, then senior and then leading scientist at the Physics Institute of the Estonian Academy of Sciences (named Academy of Sciences of the Estonian SSR until 1988). There he also become a Ph.D. in Physics (Thesis: "On Resonant Secondary Emission in Sodium Nitrite and Anthracene") in 1981. Aaviksoo was the first president of the Estonian Physical Society, founded in 1989.[1] In 1992 he returned to Tartu University, this time as a professor of optics and spectroscopy. In 1995 he was the acting director of the Tartu University institute of experimental physics and technology and from 1992 to 1995 also the first pro-rector of Tartu University. He became a member of the Estonian Academy of Sciences and thus an academician in 1994. From 1981 to 1994 Aaviksoo worked in many foreign institutes as a guest professor, namely the Novosibirsk Institute of Thermal Physics, the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart, Osaka University and University of Paris VII: Denis Diderot.

First spell as a politician and rectorate of Tartu University[edit]

From November 1995 to January 1996 he was Minister of Culture and Education and from then to November 1997 he was the Estonian Minister of Education in the governments of Tiit Vähi. He became the rector of Tartu University in 1998. He won a second and final five-year term in 2003, but resigned in 2006 to once again pursue a political career.

Resumption of political career[edit]

Elections in 2007[edit]

In 2006 Jaak Aaviksoo announced that he would be leaving the post of rector of Tartu University to run for a seat in the Estonian parliament or Riigikogu in the 2007 elections, this time not as a member of the Reform Party, but as a member of liberal conservative Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica. Before joining the party and leaving his post as rector, Aaviksoo was considered as a candidate for the presidential elections in 2006, which were won by Toomas Hendrik Ilves. After already having joined Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica, Aaviksoo sought to become the party's leader for the 2007 parliamentary elections and so candidate for Prime Minister of Estonia, but lost a closely contested duel within the party to internationally renowned two-time former Prime Minister Mart Laar.

In the elections he gained 4241 votes in his district and was elected to Riigikogu. Aaviksoo's party was left third in the elections with 19 seats after the Reform Party with 31 and the Centre Party with 29 seats. After Andrus Ansip, leader of the Reform Party, invited Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica to form a coalition government, Aaviksoo was tipped for several high positions, i.e. the Speaker of Riigikogu and Minister of Economics. Surprisingly, he took the post of Minister of Defence instead.

Minister of Defense[edit]

Having assumed office on 5 April 2007, his first primary goals as Minister of Defence were restructuring the power management of the Estonian Defense Forces and dealing with the situation of the Bronze Soldier of Tallinn, a Soviet war monument, which' soon-to-be-carried-out moving has caused much controversy and ethnic tension between a large proportion Estonians and local Russians. He also saw the Estonian youth's weak will of defending their country as a serious problem.

Personal life[edit]

Jaak Aaviksoo is a father of three. He speaks fluent English, German, Russian and French on an average level.

Works[edit]

Aaviksoo has publicized over 100 scientific articles and over 80 publicistic articles from 1976 to 2002. His more important publifications from the past decade are:[2]

  • J. Aaviksoo, C. Gourdon, R. Grousson, P. Lavallard, "Photoluminescence quantum yield in GaAs/AlAs superlattices", Solid State Electronics (vol. 40, no 1-8, p. 687, 1996)
  • J. Aaviksoo, C. Gourdon, P. Lavallard, "Power nonlinearities in the luminescence spectrum of GaAs/AlAs superlattices", Solid State Communications (vol. 99, no 6, p. 387, 1996)
  • S. O. Kognovitskii, V. V. Travnikov, J. Aaviksoo, I. Reimand, "Light Scattering by electrons in the absorption region of GaAs" - Phys. Solid State (vol. 39, no. 6, p. 907, 1997)
  • I. Reimand, J. Aaviksoo, "Exciton interaction with hot electrons in GaAs", Technical digest of X International Conference on Ultrafast Phenomena in Spectroscopy, (Tartu, 1997, p. 82)
  • J. Aaviksoo, "Estonian physicist: Active and productive", Science (vol. 275, no 5299, p. 463)
  • J. Aaviksoo. Priorities for Higher Education in Central and Eastern European Countries. - Higher Education Management (vol. 9, no. 2, p. 19, 1997).
  • I. Reimand, J. Aaviksoo, "Exciton interaction with hot electrons in GaAs", Phys. Rev. B 61, 2000, no 24, p 16653-16658

Honors[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Peeter Kreitzberg
Minister of Culture and Education
1995–1996
Succeeded by
Jaak Allik
as Minister of Culture
Succeeded by
Jaak Aaviksoo
as Minister of Education
Preceded by
Jaak Aaviksoo
Minister of Education
1996
Succeeded by
Rein Loik
Preceded by
Peeter Tulviste
Rector of University of Tartu
1998–2006
Succeeded by
Tõnu Lehtsaar (acting)
Preceded by
Jürgen Ligi
Minister of Defence
2007–2011
Succeeded by
Mart Laar
Preceded by
Tõnis Lukas
Minister of Education and Research
2011-present
Succeeded by
incumbent