Otto Heckmann

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Otto Heckmann
Born(1901-06-23)June 23, 1901
DiedMay 13, 1983(1983-05-13) (aged 81)
AwardsJames Craig Watson Medal in 1961
Bruce Medal in 1964
Scientific career
InstitutionsHamburg Observatory

Otto Hermann Leopold Heckmann (June 23, 1901 – May 13, 1983) was a German astronomer.

He directed the Hamburg Observatory from 1941 to 1962, after which he became the first director of the European Southern Observatory.[1] He actively contributed to the creation of the third issue of the Astronomische Gesellschaft Katalog. He also contributed to cosmology based on the fundamentals of general relativity, and wrote the book Theorien der Kosmologie.

In 1933 Heckmann signed the Loyalty Oath of German Professors to Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist State. He also joined the Nazi Party.

He won the James Craig Watson Medal in 1961 and the Bruce Medal in 1964.

Heckmann also served as President of the International Astronomical Union in 1967, and following a Polish request and under the impression of German acts in Poland during World War II, made the controversial decision to hold an Extraordinary IAU General Assembly in February 1973 in Warsaw, Poland, to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Nicolaus Copernicus, shortly after the regular 1973 GA was held in Australia.

The asteroid 1650 Heckmann is named after him. He married Johanna Topfmeier in 1925 and they had three children together.[2]


  • Theorien der Kosmologie. Berlin: Springer, 1942 und 1968
  • Sterne, Kosmos, Weltmodelle. München: Piper, 1976 (auch dtv-Taschenbuch)

External links[edit]



  1. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica, Otto Heckmann
  2. ^ Hockey, Thomas (2009). The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers. Springer Publishing. ISBN 978-0-387-31022-0. Retrieved August 22, 2012.