Peter Carl Ludwig Schwarz (23 May 1822 Gdansk – 17 September 1894 Tartu) Director in 1872-1894

Schwarz grew up in St. Petersburg where his father was an actor in the theater of the Imperial Court. In the years 1841-1846 he studied mathematics at Tartu University starting observations in the Tartu Observatory already being a student. After graduation Schwarz was given a post of an assistant of the Tartu Observatory.

In 1849, recommended by Struve, Schwarz was taken along to a scientific expedition as an astronomer. The expedition went to study the area of the River Amur. Four years and nine months passed in difficult conditions in the unpopulated roadless area. From the expedition Schwarz brought along observation materials and extensive experience of astronomical field measurements.

Already a year later Schwarz was appointed the head of a new similar expedition – the research trip of the Russian Geographical Society took the scientist in 1854-62 to study Eastern Siberia, the island of Sakhalin and Northern provinces of China. During six years Schwarz with his three assistants (unfortunately one perished) determined the geographical coordinates of several points and measured routes of 15,000 versts long. The report of the expedition was published in 1864.

Although for his research in Siberia Schwarz was given a life-long pension, the highest award of the Russian Geographical Society – the Konstantin Medal – and the Demidov grant of the Academy of Sciences of St. Petersburg, he did not rest on his laurels. In 1865 Schwarz occupied the post of the astronomer-observer of the Tartu observatory where he started the observation of the zone of Tartu which remained his major work in future. In 1872 Schwarz became the director of the Tartu observatory and the professor of astronomy at the university. From the 10,000 stars of the zone of Tartu Schwarz observed about 3,000 – 4,000 stars. In 1892 he began to deliver lectures in Russian.

Schwarz’s merit was also in finding good subordinates. Many observers who worked at the Tartu Observatory during his time became highly recognized scientists later. The economic situation of the observatory during the time when Schwarz was its director was not good because astronomy did not belong to the priority fields of research at that time at Tartu University, but, however, the Pulkovo Observatory initiated the supply of the Repsold heliometer and the Herbst passage instrument made in Pulkovo (the producer-mechanic W. Herbst originated from Helme, Estonia) to the Tartu Observatory.

Schwarz was also closely connected with art life of Tartu – his wife was a famous Baltic German artist Julie Hagen-Schwarz and his father-in-law was August Mathias Hagen.