2015-09-21 16:18:38

In August of 2015, an important event happened in Nikolaev Astronomical Observatory (NAO). Director of NAO Gennady I. Pinigin has retired, and Alexander V. Shulga has become a new director of NAO.


Almost thirty years, Gennady Ivanovich was at the helm of the ship called Nikolaev Observatory, and he confidently led our ship in the ocean of world science, verifying its course, overcoming the bad weather and storms, being  responsible for the ship livelihood and well-being of his team. And now it is time to draw some conclusions and say sincere words of deep gratitude and profound respect for our Captain.

Dear Gennady Ivanovich! Large part of your way in astronomy of more than half a century has been given to science in NAO in charge of the seventh director. You won the third place of honor after the two directors of Marine Observatory, namely Karl Knorre - 50 years and Ivan Kortazzi - 32 years. But unlike them, a whole team of observatory staff was behind you during all these years, and you were accountable for the results of the team. So, you are the undisputed leader with 30 years of experience as a research team leader!

You were the director during the time period of great changes in our society, associated with: the Perestrojka, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the formation of Ukraine as an independent state.

Our Observatory under your leadership not only sustained all of the complexity and the upheavals of transition period but also it became an independent scientific institution in Ukraine and later the Research Institute. Despite the fact that the number of employees was significantly reduced by about one-third, quality of staff was improved over the years. Three out of five Doctors of Science, who worked at the observatory under your directorship successfully defended their thesis. During the same time period, eight employees defended their Ph.D. thesis, and you were a scientific adviser for half of them.

We would like to highlight your talent to organize the work of the scientific team to address important astronomic programs. In today's competition, including in science, you were able to identify the niche for observatory development under urban conditions by small team of specialists. Your scientific interests were related to the research in optimal design and creation of new ground based meridian telescopes to obtain coordinates of celestial bodies.  

Your ideas were picked up and developed by colleagues and students, who created and modernized a number of telescopes, such as FRT, AMC, MCT, Mobitel. The axial meridian circle (AMC) became an object of national property of Ukraine in 1999. Great efforts were directed towards the expansion of international scientific cooperation, which involved astronomical institutions not only in Ukraine but also in Russia, China, France, Turkey including their technical and human resources. Traditional research areas of Nikolaev Observatory, such as high-precision positional observations of stars and objects in the solar system, astronomical instrument making, were transformed by using modern technology of CCD observations. In addition, at the beginning of the 21st century, new areas related to near-Earth astronomy and virtual technologies appeared at the observatory with your support. All these factors allowed our observatory to become the initiator and organizer of several international conferences and meetings, which, of course, raised the rating of NAO among astronomical institutions in Ukraine. It is impossible to overestimate your role in the development of historical and astronomical research in NAO, as well as your efforts to promote astronomical objects in Ukraine to the UNESCO World Heritage List. The last decade was devoted to solution of these issues. Results of this work are the following:  publication of more than ten bibliography books in four languages about the life of scientists at Nikolaev Observatory; inclusion of two astronomical objects of Ukraine in the Tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage, namely Nikolaev Astronomical Observatory ( 5116) and Astronomical Observatories of Ukraine ( 5267).

Dear Gennady Ivanovich, you leave the post of director in a difficult time for our country. We would like to assure you that the current leadership of NAO will try to be a worthy successor to your heritage, promises to protect and preserve traditions created by several generations of Nikolaev astronomers, hold high the honor and dignity of native Nikolaev Astronomical Observatory. We sincerely thank you for many years of selfless work, for your dedication and faithful service to science - astronomy. We wish you good health for many, many years, happiness, peace and a huge zest for life! We look forward to continuing our cooperation in the future.

research team of RI Nikolaev Astronomical Observatory