Milutin Milanković (1879-1958)
Milutin Milankovic was born in 1879 at Dalj. He was only the boy of eight when he lost his father. But his family tradition – several generations of educated ancestors – had inspired Milutin, and by the help of his mother and his dear profesor Varicak, he expressed his interest in science already in his youth. The family favour of literature and education was perhaps the strongest foundation upon which, even in the early days of Milutin‘s future scientific success. After he had graduated secondary school with acclamation, Milutin Milankovic continued his education in Vienna, since 1869, at the Technical High School. He received his diploma in 1902, and soon defended his doctoral disertation in 1904. By then he became the first of all the Serbs there who was promoted into the doctor of the technical sciences.
He used to work as an engineer until 1909. Aftewards he became the professor in applied mathematics at the University of Belgrade, which then meant the new era in the mathematic disciplines at our schools. Milutin held this chair until the last day of his active work. He married Hristina Topuzovic in 1914 and they had descendants.
Milutin Milankovic has grounded the most important theory which considers the Earth revolvs, turns, oscillations in the Orbit during the longer periods, and the results are the climates changes on the Earth. The great scientist devoted his career to the development of the mathematical theory of the climate changes. Nowadays it has been more than actual, as the climate changes influence greatly all the World on our Earth, but they are seriosly under the influence of human beings as well, having great impact on survival. So, he, himself featured the most important scientific theory related to the Earth which determined the climate changes in the longer periods of our planet history.
Thanks to his family Milutin Milankovic was granted his excellent education and the strong personality, so that already in his youth he had fine, well-balanced and positive attitude and relationship to the surounding world. It helped him throughout his life to be decisive and to live in harmony with his family. The people he loved supported him in his education and interests, cherishing national values and culture. On such a strong cornerstone stood and grew something which levishly helped the natural abillities of young Milutin. His imagination was unlimited – the unrestricted game – was the next step on his way from the rural garden to the University post.
Descriptive natural sciences – geology and geography with lots of countless facts, informed people about numerous species and generally about Ice Ages in Europe and in North America. But these sciences could not have given people relevant information and the know-how on the causes and periods of great climate changes. The perspective of the mechanism and the effects of them were not visible. It was the cosmic problem in itself. Such problems could not have been approached without knowing all laws governing our Earth, osscilating, turning round itself and round the Sun, as the Sun itself also submits to these laws of the planetary system. When in the beginning of the 20th century Milankovic started his astronomical theory of climate, it had been sort of desearted relict.
His aim was general heliocentric mathematical climatology, valid for all planets. It united astronomy and the studies of the Earth. He considered climate conditions on Mercury, Venus, Mars, and the Moon. And finally he was capable of solving the mistery of Ice Ages in the context of all planets climatology. That was one of the great results of his theories.
The mathematical theory of the climate changes, based on the seasons variability and lattitudes of the insolation on the Earth, nowadays recognised as Milankovic‘s theory, confirms all about Earth turns round the Sun. The basis are the sesonal periodical variabilities on the 3 elements: Excentric Earth orbit round the Sun, the changes of the Earth axis related to the surfaces of the Earth orbit; precesion – the changes of the Earth axis direction.
All these periods of the mentioned orbital movements are known as – Milankovic‘s Cycles.
Our great scientist Milutin Milankovc has been ranked among the fifteen most brilliant minds that »have made the revolution in understanding climate, atmosphere, oceans and human environment«.Two craters bear his name: one on the Moon and the other on the planet Mars. His famous »Diagram of the Earth Insolation« Milankovic established considering the changes in the past 600 000 years. He resolved the Ice Ages mistery in his work »Canon of Insolation of the Earth and Its Application to the Problem of the Ice Ages«.
As a great teacher, who always hapilly looked back on his childhood, he wrote the book »Through Space and Centuries« where he masterfully combined history, culture and scientific facts in the most imaginative way.