Prof. Hans Nõmmik activities directed to development of soil chemistry.
It will soon be two years since the death of Hans Nõmmik, a man dedicated to science, and enamoured of his research and teaching work. H. Nõmmik, an agronomy doctor, professor and author of over 120 publications (see list in the main publication), was known throughout Scandinavia and the world as a prominent specialist in 15
N-methods in soil-tree studies. Throughout his scientific life (last publication in 1995), he remained faithful to this topic in forestry soil science. In 1979 he was appointed to a professorship at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences at Department of Soil Forestry in the field of forest fertilisation and soil chemistry. Since 1988 up to his death (†27.06.95) he was professor emeritus at the same department.
Hans was born in Tartu on March 5, 1922 in the family of professor Anton Nõmmik, who was the first head of Soil Science Department, established at Tartu University in 1919. Nõmmik junior received his base education at Treffner Gymnasium, but the final exams he took in Tallinn. In 1942 he started studies at agronomy faculty at Tartu University. In 1943 he emigrated to Sweden and in next year continued his broken studies at the Royal Swedish Agricultural Highschool, from where he graduated in 1946. Even when a student he began half-part time technician work at Department of General Agriculture. From that time until to the end of his life, his career, from junior researcher, throughout to docent and professor, was connected with research work. As a freshly graduated agronomist, he started research work at National Health Institute in Stockholm. In 1953, he defended his doctoral thesis, entitled `Fluorine in Swedish agricultural products, soil and drinking water` and was awarded the degree of doctor of agronomy in agricultural chemistry. The young doctor continued research work at Ultuna Agricultural Research Station, and worked on problems connected with nitrogen fertilisation, liming, pH and organic matter in agricultural soils. He conducted a range of field trials, of which the Ultuna Long-term Soil Organic Matter Experiment is still efficiently used for research (Kirchmann et al., 1994). Dr H. Nõmmik was honoured with a Kellogg’s Foundation scholarship to California University for three months in 1956. In 1962 he was obtained a docent title, but in several reasons he moved to the Forest Highschool in Stockholm taking the position of senior researcher. Another pioneering program started for him, which concerned fertilisation, acidification and liming of forest soils. Dr H. Nõmmik was a tireless and enthusiastic specialist in improving productivity of the Swedish forest. During work at Forest Highschool in Stockholm, he lectured at Umeå University and in courses for professional forestry specialists. His scientific activity and publications made him well-known even outside Europe, and he visited USA, Canada, South-Africa, India, Malaysia. In 1970 he was engaged as International Atomic Energy Agency expert-consultant in India. Hans Nõmmik was a delegate of World Soil Science Congress in 1964, 1968, 1974.
In 1979 when the Agricultural, Forestry and Veterinary Highschools were linked to Universitas, Prof. H. Nõmmik was elected from associated professor place to a permanent professor position at the Forestry Department. Finally his scientific endeavours were applied to teaching. The sulphur question in Swedish forestry was topical at that time, but he continued research on the biochemical cycling of nitrogen as well. In every institution where he worked, he was respected not only as specialist, but also as a colleague whose door was always open for a student or for a project leader. Prof. H. Nõmmik was a recipient of numerous awards, among the more eminent being the Bernstein prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Forestry and Agriculture. Two eminent soil scientist Anton and Hans Nõmmik rest in Uppsala churchyard, but their scientific achievements and human intellect will long be remembered in Estonian agricultural sciences.