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Biographical entry Öpik, Armin Aleksander (1898 - 1983)


24 June 1898
Lontova, Estonia
15 January 1983
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia


Armin Öpik was Professor of Geology and Palaeontology, Estonian State University at Tartu 1930-1944. He and his family emigrated to Australia in 1948 and was employed as geologist at the Bureau of Mineral Resources, Canberra until his retirement in 1964. His major work in Australia was on the Cambrian and Early Ordovician stratigraphy and palaeontology of northern Australia.


Born Lontova, Estonia, 24 June 1898. Died Canberra, 15 January 1983. Educated Estonian State University, Tartu (Magister Mineralogiae 1926, Doctor Philosophiae Naturalis 1928, Privatdozent 1929). Lecturer in geology and mineralogy, Estonian State University at Tartu 1926-29, Professor of Geology and Palaeontology and Director of the Geological Museum and Institute 1930-44; compiling a regional geology of the north-eastern part of Europe, Geotectonic Institute, German Academy of Science, Berlin 1944; teacher of geology, 'Baltic University', Pinneberg, near Hamburg 1945-48; Bureau of Mineral Resources, Melbourne 1948-49; Bureau of Mineral Resources, Canberra 1949-63, with special contract arrangements to continue his work on documenting the Cambrian collections until it was completed. Correspondent, Geological Society of Finland 1926; Corresponding Member, Palaeontological Society of America 1928; Honorary Member, Geological society of London 1938; Fellow, Australian Academy of Science 1962; Charles Doolittle Walcott Medal, Smithsonian Institution 1962; Honorary Member, Geological Society of Australia 1965; Clarke Memorial Lecturer, Royal Society of New South Wales 1965; Award of Merit, Professional Officers' Association 1966. In Estonia he edited the journal "Eesti Loodus" and was president of the Naturalists' Society of the University of Tartu.

Related Corporate Bodies

Archival resources

Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science

  • Armin Aleksander Öpik - Records, 1912 - 1983, MS 205; Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science. Details

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions


  • O'Sullivan, Lisa; McCarthy, Gavan; Sherratt, Tim, A Brief Guide to the Records of Armin Aleksander Öpik, Australian Science Archives Project, Melbourne, 1992, 47 pp. Details

Book Sections

  • Branagan, D. F., 'Öpik, Armin Aleksander (1892-1983), Palaeontologist', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 18, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 2013, pp. 247-8. Details

Journal Articles

Online Resources

Digital resources

Armin Aleksander Öpik


McCarthy, G.J.