Harald Keres 2 November 1912 Pärnu Director in 1950-1955
Harald Keres was born to the family of a tailor in Pärnu. In 1932 he finished the Pärnu Secondary School for boys, in 1936 graduated from the Department of Mathematics of Tartu University. In 1942 he defended his thesis “Space and time in the general theory of relativity” and was conferred the degree of dr. phil. nat. As the Soviet Higher Attestation Commission did not recognize it, in 1947 he again defended the thesis “The relativistic theory of space and time” and was given the degree of Doctor of Physics and Mathematics.
In the years 1936–1938 Harald Keres worked as an assistant at the observatory and in 1938-1944 as a junior support lecturer in mathematics. In 1944 he was mobilized to the German army but in 1945 came back from Germany to Estonia. In 1945–1946 Harald Keres was a senior lecturer at the Chair of Mathematical Analysis, in 1946-1949 the acting assistant professor, in 1949–1958 the Head of the Chair of Theoretical Physics. In the years 1958–1960 Keres was the Research Prorector of Tartu University. In 1947–1950 Keres was the scientific secretary at the Institute of Physics, Mathematics and Mechanics of the Academy of Sciences, in 1950–1955 the Head of the Astronomical Observatory of the Institute of Physics and Astronomy, in 1955–1960 a senior research fellow, in 1960–1973 the Head of the Sector of Theoretical Physics and Mathematics, in 1973–1989 the Head of the Laboratory (Sector) of Theoretical Physics of the Institute of Physics.
Keres has delivered lectures of special and general theory of relativity, analytical mechanics, etc. In 1961 he became a member of the Estonian Academy of Sciences in the field of theoretical physics.
The field of research of Keres is relativistic gravitation theory; he may be considered the founder of the Estonian school of it. Keres developed the theory of inertial system in general theory of relativity and studied the relationships between Einstein’s theory and Newton’s gravitation theory.