Toomas-Eric K. Rebane
(13.04.1930 - 11.12.2012)
Thomas (Toomas-Erik) Rebane was born on 13 April 1930 in Parnu, Estonia. In 1949 he graduated from a high school with a gold medal and was admitted to the Physics Department of the Leningrad State University. During his studies he was awarded the O.D.Khvolson scholarship. He got a diploma of a physicist with excellence in 1954 and continued his education at the graduate school of the Leningrad State University. Upon graduation, he was offered a job at the Theoretical Physics Division of the Physics Department. He got his PhD in 1958 and the Doctor of Science degree in 1965. From 1976 till the end of his life he led the research of atoms and molecules at the Quantum Mechanics Division.
Scientific interests of Prof. Rebane embraced practically all quarters of the atomic and molecular theory. His works on the theory of magnetism are widely known, in particular, the general theory of electronic contribution to the molecular rotational and vibrational magnetic moment, the method of gauge variation for calculation of the magnetic susceptibility, and studies of magnetic properties of molecules with conjugate bonds. Of major physical significance is his proof of the fact that the ground state of a molecule with a closed electronic shell may be paramagnetic. Following traditions dating back to V.A.Fock, M.G.Veselov and M.I.Petrashen he developed new approximate methods of computation of the atomic and molecular states such as the modified adiabatic approximation, employment of complex basis set orbitals in the variational estimates of energies of the few-electron systems etc. Ingeniously combining fundamental theorems of quantum mechanics such as convexity of the ground state energy, the Hellman-Feynman theorem and the scaling properties, Prof. Rebane established the stability domain of exotic atoms and molecules such as mesomolecules, positron-containing systems etc. which are now enjoying ever-increasing popularity.
Yet another important achievement of Prof. Rebane and his co-authors (V.N.Rebane and A.G.Petrashen) which gained universal recognition of the scientific community, is the unified theory of the collisional relaxation of atomic states in gases. These investigations comprising more than 30 publications were awarded the main prize of the Leningrad State University in 1985. In total, Prof. Rebane published more than 350 papers and a book "Scaling transformation in quantum theory of atoms and molecules" co-authored by N. N. Penkina. The research performance of Prof. Rebane did not weaken with age; in 2012 (the year of his death) five his papers were published.
Among the students of Prof. Rebane there are two Doctors of Science (P. A. Braun and A.G. Petrashen) and 10 Candidates of Science (PhD).