Liisi Oterma

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Liisi Oterma
Liisi Oterma.jpg
Born1915 January 6
DiedApril 4, 2001
Turku
Scientific career
FieldsAstronomy

Liisi Oterma (Finnish pronunciation: [ˈliːsi ˈotermɑ]) (6 January 1915 – 4 April 2001) was a Finnish astronomer, the first woman to get a Ph.D. degree in astronomy in Finland.[1]

She studied mathematics and astronomy at the University of Turku, and soon became Yrjö Väisälä's assistant and worked on the search for minor planets. She obtained her masters degree in 1938. From 1941 to 1965, Oterma worked as an observer at the university's observatory. She obtained her PhD in 1955 with a dissertation on telescope optics. She was the first Finnish woman to obtain a PhD in astronomy.[1]

In 1959, Oterma became a docent of astronomy and from 1965 to 1978 a professor in University of Turku. In 1971, she succeeded Väisälä as the director of the Tuorla Observatory. She was director of the astronomical-optical research institute at the University of Turku from 1971-1975.[1]

Oterma was interested in languages and spoke German, French, Italian, Spanish, Esperanto, Hungarian, English and also Arabic, for example. Oterma's original plans were to study Sanskrit, but it was not offered at the University of Turku, and the choice was ultimately focused on astronomy.[1]

Oterma was quiet, modest in nature, and fearful of publicity. Anders Reiz, a professor at the Copenhagen Observatory, among others, said Oterma was “silent in eleven languages”. Oterma avoided appearing in photographs, and there are only a handful of pictures of her.

She discovered or co-discovered several comets, including periodic comets 38P/Stephan-Oterma, 39P/Oterma and 139P/Väisälä–Oterma. She is also credited by the Minor Planet Center (MPC) with the discovery of 54 minor planets between 1938 and 1953, and ranks 153th on MPC's all-time discovery chart.[2]

The Hildian asteroid 1529 Oterma, discovered by Finnish astronomer Yrjö Väisälä in 1938, was named in her honour.[3]

Minor planets discovered[edit]

1504 Lappeenranta March 23, 1939
1507 Vaasa September 12, 1939
1522 Kokkola November 18, 1938
1540 Kevola November 16, 1938
1544 Vinterhansenia October 15, 1941
1545 Thernöe October 15, 1941
1558 Järnefelt January 20, 1942
1559 Kustaanheimo January 20, 1942
1679 Nevanlinna March 18, 1941
1680 Per Brahe February 12, 1942
1695 Walbeck October 15, 1941
1705 Tapio September 26, 1941
1758 Naantali February 18, 1942
1882 Rauma October 15, 1941
2064 Thomsen September 8, 1942
2107 Ilmari November 12, 1941
2159 Kukkamäki October 16, 1941
2195 Tengström September 27, 1941
2268 Szmytowna November 6, 1942
2291 Kevo March 19, 1941
2332 Kalm April 4, 1940
2501 Lohja April 14, 1942
2640 Hällström March 18, 1941
2717 Tellervo November 29, 1940
2774 Tenojoki October 3, 1942
2803 Vilho November 29, 1940
2804 Yrjö April 19, 1941
2805 Kalle October 15, 1941
2827 Vellamo February 11, 1942
2828 Iku-Turso February 18, 1942
2840 Kallavesi October 15, 1941
2841 Puijo February 26, 1943
2846 Ylppö February 12, 1942
2857 NOT February 17, 1942
2912 Lapalma February 18, 1942
2946 Muchachos October 15, 1941
2988 Korhonen March 1, 1943
3132 Landgraf November 29, 1940
3381 Mikkola October 15, 1941
3497 Innanen April 19, 1941
3597 Kakkuri October 15, 1941
3811 Karma October 13, 1953
3892 Dezsö April 19, 1941
4133 Heureka February 17, 1942
4163 Saaremaa April 19, 1941
4227 Kaali February 17, 1942
(5216) 1941 HA April 16, 1941
(5534) 1941 UN October 15, 1941
(5611) 1943 DL February 26, 1943
(5985) 1942 RJ September 7, 1942
6886 Grote February 11, 1942
7267 Victormeen February 23, 1943
(11780) 1942 TB October 3, 1942
(15198) 1940 GJ April 5, 1940

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Isaksson, Eva. "Liisi Oterma, astronomer, 1915-2001". Women of Learning. City of Helsinki. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  2. ^ "Minor Planet Discoverers (by number)". Minor Planet Center. 23 May 2016. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  3. ^ Schmadel, Lutz D. (2007). "(1529) Oterma". Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (1529) Oterma. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 121. doi:10.1007/978-3-540-29925-7_1530. ISBN 978-3-540-00238-3.