Information about Graduate Program in Environmental Physics

University of Tartu, 1998

1. Institute of Environmental Physics

2. Mission of Environmental Physics in Estonia

3. Basis of experimental research for graduate students

4. Cooperation with partner institutions

5. Volume and results of graduate studies

6. Previous evaluations of the research group

Appendixes:

1. Description of Air Electricity Laboratory.
2. Description of Laboratory of Nuclear Spectroscopy.
3. List of selected publications 1993-1997.

1. Institute of Environmental Physics

The Institute of Environmental Physics was established at the turn of the years of 1992/93 on the basis of former Department of Geophysics and Air Electricity Laboratory. The Institute consists of three chairs:

Only the Chair of Environmental Physics is funded from the budget of the university. Two joint chairs have been established under agreements between University of Tartu and Tartu Observatory, and they are funded from the budget of Tartu Observatory. Joint chairs are created especially for graduate programs and they are not loaded with undergraduate teaching.

The expertise of supervisors of the graduate program is characterized by the CV-s (Appendix 3) and the scientific background of the institute is characterized by the list of publications (Appendix 4).

The funding of the Chair of Environmental Physics from domestic sources has developed as follows:

Funds (thousands EEK):
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
Basic funds for teaching
301*
519*
571
591**
590
Basic funds for research
277*
451*
521
645
800
ESF research grants
150
256
321
583
730
Support for Ph.D. students
0
0
0
0
223
Sum
728
1226
1413
1819
2343

*) Including the taxes not included into the institute formal budget until 1995.

**) Including additional salary not included into the institute formal budget of 1997.

Until 1997 the Air Electricity Laboratory was located in a separate building in distance about one kilometer from the faculty building where another part of the institute is located. In 1997, the laboratory moved to the faculty building and the facilities of graduate program were essentially improved. The area of rooms occupied by Chair of Environmental Physics in the faculty building is 636 m2.

Graduate program is essentially supported by partner institutions: Tartu Observatory, Laboratory of Nuclear Spectroscopy, and Estonian Marine Institute. The funds used for graduate program by partners are not indicated in the budget above.

2. Mission of Environmental Physics in Estonia

Environmental protection is rapidly developing field of activity in Estonia today and new jobs are created every year. Expertise in modeling of dispersion of pollutants, contemporary meteorology, analytic instrumentation and environmental measuring methods can be achieved only in the basis of good education in physics and mathematics. The program of Environmental Physics in University of Tartu is created with aim to develop the physical methods of environmental studies and prepare environmental scientists and professionals on the basis of fundamental education in physics.

The field of environmental studies is wide and a small institute should carefully determine its priorities. Institute of Environmental Physics considers as well the needs of Estonia as well the existing expertise and available funding, and determines its priorities as follows:

3. Basis of experimental research for graduate students

Chair of Environmental Physics has equipped two scientific laboratories intensely used in graduate program: Air Electricity Laboratory (Appendix 1) and Laboratory of Nuclear Spectroscopy (Appendix 2). Laboratory of Nuclear Spectroscopy is located in the rooms of a partner institute and maintained by the staff of this institute, but equipped mostly by instruments belonging to the Institute of Environmental Physics.

4. Cooperation with partner institutions

Joint Chairs of Biogeophysics (Prof. T. Nilson) and Dynamic Meteorology (Prof. R. Rõõm) are funded and maintained by Tartu Observatory, located in Tõravere in distance of 25 km from the City of Tartu. Tartu Observatory participates actively in the degree program. Some research fellows from the Tartu Observatory are considered as members of the joint chairs and they deliver eight MS courses in the university. Groups of the Dynamic Meteorology and Biogeophysics are at the leading edge of the environmental science and participate in the large international research projects. The Group of Dynamic Meteorology of Tartu Observatory is the only group in Estonia specializing in theoretical and numerical meteorology, which performs the backbone of modern atmospheric science. Four Masters of Sciences, supervised by Prof. Rõõm, have been graduated during last years. Two of them continue as Ph.D. students today. Additionally, several undergraduate students are involved into research at the Tartu Observatory. The existing cooperation should be maintained and developed as much as possible.

Institute of Physics is the host organization for the Laboratory of Nuclear Spectroscopy supervised by Doc. Enn Realo. The radiation protection service is in the stage of creation in Estonia today and qualified experts in this field are urgently needed. Active cooperation with the Laboratory of Nuclear Spectroscopy enables to educate some students in this field of knowledge. Unfortunately, the number of these students does not satisfy the real need of Estonia in experts in environmental radiology and radiation protection.

The marine physics in the university is taught by Doc. Hanno Ohvril. However, University of Tartu is not able to provide himself experimental facilities and full scale education for graduate studies in the marine physics. Thus the graduate program in marine physics is essentially based on cooperation with the Estonian Marine Institute located in Tallinn.

Essential assistance in the graduate program are providing our foreign partners:

5. Volume and results of graduate studies

The numbers characterizing the graduate program of the Institute of Environmental Physics are presented in the table:

1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
Enrolled MS students
4
4
4
3
2
MS students expected to finish the studies
0
4
4
4
2
Actually defended MS theses
0
9
3
5
1
Enrolled Ph.D. students
1
1
7
6
1
Ph.D. students expected to finish the studies
0
0
1
1
2
Actually defended Ph.D. theses
1
1
1
0
1

Degrees given during the five last years are listed below:

Name
Degree
Year
Feliks Miller
MS
1994
Hilja Iher
MS
1994
Priit Tisler
MS
1994
Raul Hindov
MS
1994
Reinhold Matisen
MS
1994
Urmas Hõrrak
MS
1994
Veljo Kimmel
MS
1994
Üllar Rannik
MS
1994
Ülle Kikas
MS
1994
Anu Reinart
MS
1995
Margus Arak
MS
1995
Marko Kaasik
MS
1995
Anu Ülejõe
MS
1996
Laur Mägi
MS
1996
Marko Vana
MS
1996
Oleg Okulov
MS
1996
Vladimir Babin
MS
1996
Aarne Männik
MS
1997
Piia Post
Ph.D.
1993
Aadu Mirme
Ph.D.
1994
Aare Luts
Ph.D.
1995
Tiit Kutser
Ph.D.
1997

6. Previous evaluations of the research group

First unofficial international evaluation was performed in 1990. This year, the Naval Research Office, USA, organized the evaluation of the environmental research groups in Eastern Europe. Air Electricity Laboratory (included today as the core into the Institute of Environmental Physics) was inspected by Liaison Scientist of NRO Hans Dolezalek. The report is published in the NRO journal "European Scientific Notes Information Bulletin", 1991, N3, pp. 3-9. The General Evaluation is detailed and positive. A citation: "The Laboratory is among the leading ones in its scientific domain; in some regards, it is certainly the leading one."

Second international evaluation has been accomplished by Swedish scientists in 1992. The conclusions for the members of the institute were:

In 1994, the 4-page self-evaluation report (in Estonian) was compiled according to a questionnaire and presented to the university administration. Institute has received no reply.

In 1996, the 26-page self-evaluation report (in Estonian) was compiled according to a questionnaire and presented to the university administration. Institute has received no reply.