Learning from Hans Wospakrik, a Genius from Papua

West Papua
Sumber : Saireri Courier

Papua and West Papua has numerous prominent figures that have given tremendous contribution to Indonesia, and Hans Wospakrik was one of them. Like George Saa, he gave a dedication to the world of Physics community and made Indonesia proud internationally. Dig deep into his profile.


Born in Papua

West Papua
Sumber : Jubi

Hans Jacobus Wospakrik was born in Serui, Papua, on September 10, 1951. He was born within a respectful family of educators in Papua. Some of his siblings are lecturers as well; one of them, Frans Wospakrik, became the rector of Cenderawasih University. 

Hans was married to Regina Wospakrik-Sorentau, and they had two children, namely Willem and Marianette. He, respectively, studied in the Mathematics dan Physics Departments at Bandung Institute of Technology. Hans died at Dharmais Hospital, Jakarta, on January 11, 2005, due to leukemia. 


Eager to Learn

Young Hans first became interested in Physics when studying at Manokwari State Senior High School. Hans’ brother, Frans Wospakrik, suggested he study Mining Engineering at Bandung Institute of Technology in 1971. Yet, he wasn’t really into it, so he moved to major in Physics the following year. He graduated in 1976 with cum laude predicate.

In the late 1970s, Hans went to the Netherlands to continue his postgraduate studies in Theoretical Physics. In the 1980s, he was guided by a Dutch professor of Physics, Kistemakers, recommending him a scholarship to research at the Institute of Theoretical Physics at the University of Utrecht.

This recommendation also led Hans to be directly mentored by the physicist Marthinus J.G. Veltman and Gerardus ‘t Hooft awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1999. In the same year, he went to Durham University, England, but he took a doctoral program in 2002 there.

Dari Atomos Hingga Quarks” is a book by Hans about mankind’s search throughout history for the smallest constituents of this natural matter. Hans and Prof. Dr. Pantur Silaban also translated textbooks for students majoring in Mathematics and Natural Sciences and the Faculty of Engineering in Indonesia.

His research results have also been published in leading international journals, such as Physical Review D (1982 and 1989), Journal of Mathematical Physics (2001 and 2002), International Journal of Modern Physics (1991), and Modern Physics Letters A (1986 and 2002). 

Hans was committed, consistent, and highly dedicated to research in the field of Theoretical Physics, so he was awarded the best physicist by Atma Jaya University Jakarta for it. He significantly contributed to the world physics community in mathematical methods for understanding physical phenomena in elementary particles and Einstein’s theory of General Relativity.


Respectful to People, Care for His Students

Hans was very good at teaching as the courses he taught were hard, but his lectures were easy because of the way he taught. When a student asked about something, he didn’t just give a definition. He thought that students must learn and understand things on their own, not just through words definition and arithmetic skills. 

Hans loved to encourage his students as young people by involving in their activities and tasks he assigned. He was always enthusiastic and attentive to them whenever discussing Physics. Apart from being known for his brilliance, he was also popular to be very respectful and polite towards everyone.


Hans in the Eyes of Others

Hans’ colleague on campus, Fredy P. Zen, said that he was a bright, passionate person who emphasized originality. Fredy added that although his publications are not very numerous, his originality deserves to be admired. Hans’ brilliance made many parties offer him to be involved in several projects and teaching, including one at Kyoto University, but he didn’t accept them despite the high fees. 

Hans got a high work ethic; he was often found still working in his office even after working hours. However, he was a low-profile and modest person. In fact, he often took public transportation or even walked to his house located about six kilometers from campus.

Hans Wospakrik is one of the influential people coming from Papua, and there are still more others from the province and neighboring West Papua that can inspire us.

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