In 2018, as part of the reorganization of Vilnius University, the Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astronomy was established at the Faculty of Physics of Vilnius University.
The Institute consists of the Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astronomy, which previously operated as a core unit at the University and the Astronomical Observatory, which formerly operated as a branch unit at the Faculty of Physics.
Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astronomy
Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astronomy (ITPA) was established in 1990, though the departments belonging to it appeared and were continuously developing since 1952 at the Institute of the Academy of Sciences that had been existing under different names. First, the Sector of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy (head Dr. Adolfas Jucys) was established at the Institute of Physics and Engineering of the Academy of Sciences. Initially, it had two physicists theoreticians and one mathematician, and there were no astronomers for several years. The Sector occupied one room in the building on T. Kosciuškos street. In 1956 on the academician A. Jucys’ initiative the above Sector and an experimental Sector of Technical Physics were included into the Institute of Physics and Mathematics of the Academy of Sciences. At this Institute, there was also the Sector of Theoretical Physics (head Assoc. Prof. Kostas Ušpalis). In 1957, in the Sector of Mathematics a group of astronomers lead by the academician Paulius Slavėnas was established, which grew into the Sector of Astrophysics in 1967 (head Dr. Vytautas Straižys). Soon the construction of the Molėtai Astronomical Observatory of the Institute of Physics and Mathematics was started. In 1967 the second theoretical division was established – Sector of Quantum Mechanical Calculations (head the academician A. Jucys). In 1977 physicists separated from mathematicians and the Institute of Physics of the Academy of Sciences was founded. It was presumed that at least one department of the experimental physics is necessary (Sectors were renamed as Departments) and then the Department of Plasma Spectroscopy (head Dr. Petras Serapinas) as well as the third theoretical division – Department of Nucleus of Atom (head Dr. Vladas Vanagas, since 1990 – Dr. Sigitas Ališauskas ) – were established. The Department of Quantum Mechanical Calculations was renamed as the Department of the Theory of Atom (head Dr. Zenonas Rudzikas). In 1990 the Department of Theoretical Physics was reorganized into the Department of Processes and Structures (head Dr. Bronislovas Kaulakys).
On the basis of all five the above-mentioned Departments of the Institute of Physics, the Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astronomy was established in 1990 (soon, the Institute as well as the other institutes of the Academy of Sciences, acquired a state institute status). The Department of Astrophysics was renamed as the Astronomical Observatory and a year later, on October 31, 1991, the Planetarium was joined to the Institute. In 2002 the Institute being much of the fundamental character has been granted the university research institute status. It became Vilnius University Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astronomy. Since 2010 the ITPA together with the Planetarium was fully integrated into the Vilnius University forming a new core academic institute of the Vilnius University.l University.
In 2018 under the reorganization of the Vilnius University, the ITPA was joined into the Faculty of Physics, together with the former Astronomical Observatory of Faculty of Physics. The Planetarium was reorganized into a non-academic core unit of the Vilnius University.
Evolution of the Institute
- In 1990 the ITPA was established after the separation from the Institute of Physics
- In 1991 Vilnius Planetarium was connected to the ITPA
- In 2002 the ITPA was transformed from the State research institute into the University research institute
- In 2009, on December 16, the ITPA became a core academic unit of the Vilnius University.
- In 2018 under the reorganization of Vilnius University, the ITPA joined the Faculty of Physics together with the former Astronomical Observatory of the Faculty of Physics, whereas the Planetarium became a non-academic core unit of Vilnius University.
In 1990-2016 the Institute was situated on A. Goštauto str. 12 in Vilnius, and from 2016 onwards it moved to the building of the National Center for Physical Sciences and Technology, Saulėtekio av. 3 in Vilnius. The Molėtai Astronomical Observatory belonging to the ITPA is located in Kulioniai village (Molėtai district). The Observatory has the 1.65 m and 63 cm mirror telescopes, and a 35/51 cm Maksutov-type telescope. From 1975 to 1993 the Institute was operating the Maidanak Observatory Station with a 1 m and 48 cm telescopes (the Pamir Mountains, Uzbekistan). In 1993 this Observatory was nationalized by Uzbekistan.
- 1990–2003 – Zenonas Rokus Rudzikas
- 2003–2013 – Gražina Tautvaišienė
- 2013–2018 – Gediminas Juzeliūnas
Astronomical Observatory of the Faculty of Physics
The Astronomical Observatory of the Faculty of Physics was founded in 1965 along with the faculty itself, however the history of astronomy at the Vilnius University reaches 1753 when the first professional observatory was established. More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vilnius_University_Astronomy_Observatory
The Observatory was operating at K. Čiurlionio str. 29 in Vilnius. The Observatory has four telescopes: 63 cm diameter Casegren-type telescope (located at the Molėtai Observatory, ITPA); 48 cm diameter Casegren-type telescope (at the Maidanak Observatory, Uzbekistan); 28 cm diameter equatorial-type telescope (at the eastern tower) and 16 cm astrograph (at the western tower) at K. Čiurlionio str. 29 in Vilnius).
- 1965–1969 – Paulius Slavėnas
- 1969–1978 – Alfonsas Misiukas-Misiūnas
- 1978–1992 – Romualdas Kalytis
- 1992–2008 – Jokūbas Sūdžius
- 2008–2017 – Vladas Vansevičius