Science outside of Tartu

During the pre-war period in Estonia, Tartu began to lose its monopolist position as a scientific centre. Already in 1917, discussing the future of higher education, some Estonian figures found that Tartu should find in Tallinn a counter-poise and competitor in scientific and academic life. In the interwar period, Tallinn began to gain prominence as a city of science. This was to a great degree the initiative of the state: in 1919, the State Central Laboratory was established and in 1923, the State Testing Centre.

On the basis of special courses provided by the Estonian Engineering Society for the training of military engineers, a technical university was opened in Tallinn in 1936. Several leading scientists were employed in the new institution and certain fields of research, centred on Estonia, became world centres of their disciplines. Paul Nikolai Kogerman (1891-1951) launched research on oil shale and this field has retained its international uniqueness up to the present day. In the post-war period, the sciences gained new vigour in Tallinn, when numerous scientific institutes were founded, some institutions which had traditionally been situated in Tartu (The Art College) were transferred to Tallinn and new universities (Tallinn Pedagogical University) were established. The idea of transferring part of the medical department to Tallinn, which had been proposed by some visionaries before the war, was not realised, although the pressure to provide medical education in a separate medical institute was present in Estonia as in the rest of the USSR. The Estonian Academy of Sciences, which was founded in 1938, had its seat in Tartu, while the new Academy of Sciences of the ESSR was established in Tallinn.

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