Jaak Aaviksoo

Jaak Aaviksoo
Jaak Aaviksoo.jpg
Minister of Culture and Education
In office
Preceded by Peeter Kreitzberg
Succeeded by Rein Loik (as Minister of Education)
Jaak Allik (as Minister of Culture)
Minister of Defence
In office
Prime Minister Andrus Ansip
Preceded by Jürgen Ligi
Succeeded by Mart Laar
Minister of Education and Research
In office
6 April 2011 – 26 March 2014
Prime Minister Andrus Ansip
Preceded by Tõnis Lukas
Succeeded by Jevgeni Ossinovski
Personal details
Born (1954-01-11) 11 January 1954 (age 67)
Tartu, Estonia
Nationality Estonian
Political party Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica
Spouse(s) Tiina Kaalep
Alma mater University of Tartu
Occupation Rector of Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech)
Profession Physicist

Jaak Aaviksoo (born 11 January 1954) is an Estonian politician and physicist, a former rector of the University of Tartu and Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech).

Aaviksoo has been the Estonian Minister of Defence and Minister of Education and Research, he was a member of the liberal conservative party Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica.

Jaak Aaviksoo is the first rector in Estonia who is also an academician.

Education and career in science

Aaviksoo was born in Tartu. After graduating from Tartu Secondary School No. 2 (present-day Miina Härma Gymnasium) in 1971, he entered the Tartu State University physics department in the chemistry-physics faculty and graduated cum laude in the field of theoretical physics in 1976. From 1976 to 1992 he was first junior, then senior and then leading scientist at the Physics Institute of the Estonian Academy of Sciences (named Academy of Sciences of the Estonian SSR until 1988). There he also became a PhD in Physics (Thesis: "On Resonant Secondary Emission in Sodium Nitrite and Anthracene") in 1981. Aaviksoo was the first president of the Estonian Physical Society, founded in 1989.[1] In 1992 he returned to University of Tartu, this time as a professor of optics and spectroscopy. In 1995 he was the acting director of the Tartu University institute of experimental physics and technology and from 1992 to 1995 also the first vice-rector of University of Tartu. He became a member of the Estonian Academy of Sciences and thus an academician in 1994. From 1981 to 1994 Aaviksoo worked in many foreign institutes as a guest professor, namely the Novosibirsk Institute of Thermal Physics, the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart, Osaka University and University of Paris VII: Denis Diderot.

Politician and rector of University of Tartu and TalTech

From November 1995 to January 1996 Jaak Aaviksoo was Minister of Culture and Education and from then to November 1997 he was the Estonian Minister of Education in the governments of Tiit Vähi.

In 1998 he became the rector of University of Tartu. He was re-elected for another five-year term as a rector in 2003.

In 2006 Jaak Aaviksoo announced that he would be leaving the post of rector of University of Tartu to run for a seat in the Estonian parliament Riigikogu in the 2007 elections as a member of liberal conservative Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica. Before joining the party and leaving his post as rector, Aaviksoo was considered as a candidate for the presidential elections in 2006, which were won by Toomas Hendrik Ilves. After already having joined Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica, Aaviksoo sought to become the party's leader for the 2007 parliamentary elections and so candidate for Prime Minister of Estonia, but lost a closely contested duel within the party to internationally renowned two-time former Prime Minister Mart Laar.

In the elections he gained 4241 votes in his district and was elected to Riigikogu. He became the Minister of Defence in Andrus Ansip's second government. Having assumed office on 5 April 2007, his first primary goals as Minister of Defence were restructuring the power management of the Estonian Defense Forces and dealing with the situation of the Bronze Soldier of Tallinn, a Soviet war monument, which was moved to a cemetery, causing much controversy and ethnic tension between a large proportion Estonians and local Russians. He also saw the Estonian youth's weak will of defending their country as a serious problem.

In 2011 he was re-elected to parliament and he became the Minister of Education and Research in Andrus Ansip's third government. As the Minister he strongly supported school reform and separating primary schools from gymnasiums.

In March 2015 he gained 1405 votes at the parliament elections and became a member in Riigikogu. In the summer of 2015 he ran for the position of the rector of Tallinn University of Technology.

Since September 2015 Jaak Aaviksoo is the rector of Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech).

Personal life

Aaviksoo is married to Tiina Kaalep. He is a father of three, a grandfather of seven and a great grandfather of one.

He speaks fluent English, German, Russian and French on an average level.


Aaviksoo has publicized over 100 scientific articles and over 80 publicistic articles from 1976 to 2002. His more important publifications from the past decade are:[2]

  • J. Aaviksoo, C. Gourdon, R. Grousson, P. Lavallard, "Photoluminescence quantum yield in GaAs/AlAs superlattices", Solid State Electronics (vol. 40, no 1–8, p. 687, 1996)
  • J. Aaviksoo, C. Gourdon, P. Lavallard, "Power nonlinearities in the luminescence spectrum of GaAs/AlAs superlattices", Solid State Communications (vol. 99, no 6, p. 387, 1996)
  • S. O. Kognovitskii, V. V. Travnikov, J. Aaviksoo, I. Reimand, "Light Scattering by electrons in the absorption region of GaAs" – Phys. Solid State (vol. 39, no. 6, p. 907, 1997)
  • I. Reimand, J. Aaviksoo, "Exciton interaction with hot electrons in GaAs", Technical digest of X International Conference on Ultrafast Phenomena in Spectroscopy, (Tartu, 1997, p. 82)
  • J. Aaviksoo, "Estonian physicist: Active and productive", Science (vol. 275, no 5299, p. 463)
  • J. Aaviksoo. Priorities for Higher Education in Central and Eastern European Countries. – Higher Education Management (vol. 9, no. 2, p. 19, 1997).
  • I. Reimand, J. Aaviksoo, "Exciton interaction with hot electrons in GaAs", Phys. Rev. B 61, 2000, no 24, p 16653-16658
  • J.Aaviksoo, J.Kuhl, K.Ploog, Observation of optical precursors at pulse propagation in GaAs. – Phys. Rev. A, 44, 25353–25356, 1991.
  • I.Reimand, J.Aaviksoo, Surface polarization dynamics revealed by time-resolved resonant reflection of light. – Opt. Commun., 86(2) 142–146, 1991.
  • J.Aaviksoo, I.Reimand, V.V.Rossin, V.V.Travnikov, Quenching of exciton luminescence by hot electrons in GaAs. – Fiz. Tverd. Tela, 33(8) 2408–2412, 1991. (in Russian).
  • J.Aaviksoo, I.Reimand, V.V.Rossin, V.V.Travnikov, Kinetics of free exciton luminescence in GaAs. – Phys. Rev. B, 45(3) 1473–1476, 1992.
  • T.Reinot, J.Aaviksoo, Propagation of polariton luminescence pulses in anthracene. – J. Lumin., 50(2) 259–264, 1991.
  • J.Aaviksoo, T.Reinot, Ballistic propagation of luminescence pulses in anthracene crystal flakes. – J. Mol. Cryst. Liquid Cryst., 217, 147–151, 1992.
  • J.Aaviksoo, I.Reimand, V.Rossin, V.Travnikov, Kinetics of exciton formation and relaxation in GaAs. – J. Lumin., 53, 423–426, 1992.
  • J.Aaviksoo Estonian physicist: Active and Productive. – Science, 275, 463, 1997.



  1. ^ "Eesti ja Soome Füüsika Seltsi ühised füüsikapäevad". Horisont. 2. 2007. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  2. ^ Biography on the official website of the Estonian Ministry of Defense Archived 30 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b "Bearers of decorations". President.ee. Retrieved 17 January 2011.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Peeter Kreitzberg
Minister of Culture and Education
Succeeded by
Jaak Allik
as Minister of Culture
Succeeded by
Jaak Aaviksoo
as Minister of Education
Preceded by
Jaak Aaviksoo
Minister of Education
Succeeded by
Rein Loik
Preceded by
Peeter Tulviste
Rector of University of Tartu
Succeeded by
Tõnu Lehtsaar (acting)
Preceded by
Jürgen Ligi
Minister of Defence
Succeeded by
Mart Laar
Preceded by
Tõnis Lukas
Minister of Education and Research
Succeeded by
Jevgeni Ossinovski
Preceded by
Andres Keevallik
Rector of Tallinn University of Technology
Succeeded by
Tiit Land