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Milutin Milanković

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Milutin Milanković
BornMay 28, 1879(1879-05-28)
Dalj, Austria-Hungary
DiedDecember 12, 1958(1958-12-12) (aged 79)
Belgrade, FPR Yugoslavia
Fieldsmathematician, astronomer, geophysics,
Known forInsolation, Milankovitch cycles

Milutin Milanković [1] (28 May 1879 – 12 December 1958) was a Serbian mathematician, astronomer, geophysicist, climatologist, civil engineer and writer. Milanković made two fundamental contributions to science.

The first contribution was the "Canon of the Earth’s insolation", which explained the climates of the planets of the Solar system. He founded cosmic climatology by calculating temperatures of the upper layers of the Earth's atmosphere as well as the temperature conditions on planets of the inner Solar system, Mercury, Venus, Mars, and the Moon, as well as the depth of the atmosphere of the outer planets.[2]

The second contribution was his explanation of how the Earth's long-term climate changes are caused by changes in Earth's spin and orbit around the Sun. These are now known as Milankovich cycles. They explain the ice ages which occurred in the geological past of the Earth, and predict climate changes on the Earth which may be expected in the future.

The explanation is not entirely accurate, so no doubt there are other factors also at work. These other factors would be such things as how much oxygen and carbon dioxide are in the atmosphere, the position of the continents, the amount of volcanic action, and so on. However, the cycles of climate do seem broadly to go as Milankovic predicted. Geological evidence from rhythmical features in sedimentary rocks are common.


  1. Serbian: Милутин Миланковић. His surname is pronounced 'Milankovich', and often spelled that way.
  2. Ball, Tim 2011. Important but little known “Earth” scientists. [1]