In memoriam of Prof. Hans Oleak

On September 7, 2018, Prof. Hans Oleak passed away at the age of 88. The Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) mourns the loss of our esteemed colleague, who throughout his life shared his fascination for astrophysics.

Hans Oleak studied physics with a focus on astrophysics at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena. In 1956 he started his scientific work at the Babelsberg Observatory in Potsdam. After graduating in the field of cosmology, he was appointed professor by the Academy of Sciences in 1981. He was head of department for the field of extragalactic research at the AIP and taught at the University of Potsdam, the Humboldt University and at the Technical University of Berlin. The astrophysicist was one of the co-founders of the European Astronomical Society in 1990 and one of the first members of the newly founded Urania Association in Potsdam in 1991.


Hans Oleak always shared his enthusiasm for astronomy with great dedication and it was important to him to pass on his knowledge in a comprehensible way. So he held numerous popular science lectures, organized teacher training and was the chief editor of the astronomical magazine "The Stars" from 1993 to 1996. In addition, he was involved as a board member and chairman of the URANIA Association Potsdam. He also shared his knowledge in books and television programs. In 2013, the City of Potsdam honored him for his commitment with the honorary office award. In March 2018 he received the Wilhelm Foerster Prize from Urania Potsdam.

Our condolences are to his relatives, his family, friends and all who were close to him.