Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

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Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Kungliga Vetenskapsakademien
MottoFör efterkommande
(For posterity)
Formation2 June 1739
Headquarters Stockholm, Sweden
470 Members
175 Foreign members
Dan Larhammar
Secretary General
Göran K. Hansson

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (Swedish: Kungliga Vetenskapsakademien) is one of the royal academies of Sweden. Founded on June 2, 1739, it is an independent, non-governmental scientific organization which takes special responsibility for ptomoting the natural sciences and mathematics and strengthen their influence in society, whilst endeavouring to promote the exchange of ideas between various disciplines.

Swedish language North Germanic language spoken in Sweden

Swedish is a North Germanic language spoken natively by 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden, and in parts of Finland, where it has equal legal standing with Finnish. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and to some extent with Danish, although the degree of mutual intelligibility is largely dependent on the dialect and accent of the speaker. Both Norwegian and Danish are generally easier for Swedish speakers to read than to listen to because of difference in accent and tone when speaking. Swedish is a descendant of Old Norse, the common language of the Germanic peoples living in Scandinavia during the Viking Era. It has the most speakers of the North Germanic languages.

The Royal Academies are independent organisations, founded on Royal command, that act to promote the arts, culture, and science in Sweden. The Swedish Academy and Academy of Sciences are also responsible for the selection of Nobel Prize laureates in Literature, Physics, Chemistry, and the Prize in Economic Sciences. Also included in the Royal Academies are three scientific societies that were granted Royal Charters during the 18th century.

Sweden constitutional monarchy in Northern Europe

Sweden, officially the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Scandinavian Nordic country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and north and Finland to the east, and is connected to Denmark in the southwest by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund, a strait at the Swedish-Danish border. At 450,295 square kilometres (173,860 sq mi), Sweden is the largest country in Northern Europe, the third-largest country in the European Union and the fifth largest country in Europe by area. Sweden has a total population of 10.2 million of which 2.5 million has a foreign background. It has a low population density of 22 inhabitants per square kilometre (57/sq mi). The highest concentration is in the southern half of the country.


The goals of the academy are:

Every year the academy awards the Nobel Prizes in physics and in chemistry, the Bank of Sweden's economics prize in Alfred Nobel's memory, the Crafoord Prize, the Sjöberg Prize and a number of other major awards. The Academy maintains close relations with foreign academies, learned societies and international scientific organizations and also promotes international scientific cooperation. The Academy of Sciences is located within the Stockholm region’s Royal National City Park.

Nobel Prize Set of annual international awards, primarily 5 established in 1895 by Alfred Nobel

The Nobel Prize is a set of annual international awards bestowed in several categories by Swedish and Norwegian institutions in recognition of academic, cultural, or scientific advances.

Nobel Prize in Physics One of the five Nobel Prizes established in 1895 by Alfred Nobel

The Nobel Prize in Physics is a yearly award given by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for those who have made the most outstanding contributions for humankind in the field of physics. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895 and awarded since 1901; the others being the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Nobel Prize in Literature, Nobel Peace Prize, and Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Nobel Prize in Chemistry One of the five Nobel Prizes established in 1895 by Alfred Nobel

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry is awarded annually by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to scientists in the various fields of chemistry. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895, awarded for outstanding contributions in chemistry, physics, literature, peace, and physiology or medicine. This award is administered by the Nobel Foundation, and awarded by Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on proposal of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry which consists of five members elected by Academy. The award is presented in Stockholm at an annual ceremony on December 10, the anniversary of Nobel's death.


Main building of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm. Main building of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (Kungliga Vetenskapsakademien), Frescati, Norra Djurgarden, Stockholm.jpg
Main building of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm.

International Prizes

The Crafoord Prize is an annual science prize established in 1980 by Holger Crafoord, a Swedish industrialist, and his wife Anna-Greta Crafoord. The Prize is awarded in partnership between the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Crafoord Foundation in Lund. The Academy is responsible for selecting the Crafoord Laureates. The prize is awarded in four categories: astronomy and mathematics; geosciences; biosciences, with particular emphasis on ecology; and polyarthritis, the disease from which Holger severely suffered in his last years.

Astronomy natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects

Astronomy is a natural science that studies celestial objects and phenomena. It applies mathematics, physics, and chemistry in an effort to explain the origin of those objects and phenomena and their evolution. Objects of interest include planets, moons, stars, nebulae, galaxies, and comets; the phenomena also includes supernova explosions, gamma ray bursts, quasars, blazars, pulsars, and cosmic microwave background radiation. More generally, all phenomena that originate outside Earth's atmosphere are within the purview of astronomy. A related but distinct subject is physical cosmology, which is the study of the Universe as a whole.

Mathematics Field of study concerning quantity, patterns and change

Mathematics includes the study of such topics as quantity, structure, space, and change.

National prizes

Göran Gustafsson Prize Swedish science award

A Göran Gustafsson Prize is a national Swedish prize for outstanding scientific achievement awarded annually by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Chemistry, Mathematics, Medicine, Molecular Biology and Physics. It was created by means of a donation from Swedish businessman Göran Gustafsson and amounts to about 450,000 USD as a research grant and 25,000 USD as a private bonus.

Medicine The science and practice of the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of physical and mental illnesses

Medicine is the science and practice of establishing the diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. Medicine encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness. Contemporary medicine applies biomedical sciences, biomedical research, genetics, and medical technology to diagnose, treat, and prevent injury and disease, typically through pharmaceuticals or surgery, but also through therapies as diverse as psychotherapy, external splints and traction, medical devices, biologics, and ionizing radiation, amongst others.

Economics Social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services

Economics is the social science that studies the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.


The academy has elected about 1,700 Swedish and 1,200 foreign members since it was founded in 1739. Today the academy has about 470 Swedish and 175 foreign members which are divided into ten "classes", representing ten various scientific disciplines: [8]

Physics Study of the fundamental properties of matter and energy

Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its motion, and behavior through space and time, and that studies the related entities of energy and force. Physics is one of the most fundamental scientific disciplines, and its main goal is to understand how the universe behaves.

Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with elements and compounds composed of atoms, molecules and ions: their composition, structure, properties, behavior and the changes they undergo during a reaction with other substances.

Social science is a category of academic disciplines, concerned with society and the relationships among individuals within a society. Social science as a whole has many branches. These social sciences include, but are not limited to: anthropology, archaeology, communication studies, economics, history, human geography, jurisprudence, linguistics, political science, psychology, public health, and sociology. The term is also sometimes used to refer specifically to the field of sociology, the original "science of society", established in the 19th century. For a more detailed list of sub-disciplines within the social sciences see: Outline of social science.

List of permanent secretaries

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Kungliga Vetenskapsakademien.jpg
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

The following persons have served as permanent secretaries of the academy:


Kongl. Svenska Vetenskaps-Academiens handlingar, volume XI (1750). Vetenskapsakademiens handlingar 1750 front.jpg
Kongl. Svenska Vetenskaps-Academiens handlingar, volume XI (1750).

The transactions of the Academy (Vetenskapsakademiens handlingar) were published as its main series between 1739 and 1974. In parallel, other major series have appeared and gone:

The academy started publishing annual reports in physics and chemistry (1826), technology (1827), botany (1831), and zoology (1832). These lasted into the 1860s, when they were replaced by the single Bihang series (meaning: supplement to the transactions). Starting in 1887, this series was once again split into four sections (afdelning), which in 1903 became independent scientific journals of their own, titled "Arkiv för..." (archive for...), among them

Further restructuring of their topics occurred in 1949 and 1974.

Current publications


The academy was founded on 2 June 1739 by naturalist Carl Linnaeus, mercantilist Jonas Alströmer, mechanical engineer Mårten Triewald, civil servants Sten Carl Bielke and Carl Wilhelm Cederhielm, and statesman/author Anders Johan von Höpken. [10]

The purpose of the academy was to focus on practically useful knowledge, and to publish in Swedish in order to widely disseminate the academy's findings. The academy was intended to be different from the Royal Society of Sciences in Uppsala, which had been founded in 1719 and published in Latin. The location close to the commercial activities in Sweden's capital (which unlike Uppsala did not have a university at this time) was also intentional. The academy was modeled after the Royal Society of London and Academie Royale des Sciences in Paris, France, which some of the founding members were familiar with.

See also

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  2. "Prize in Economic Sciences - The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  3. "Crafoord Prize - The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  4. "Sjöberg Prize - The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  5. "Rolf Schock Prizes - The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  6. "Gregori Aminoff Prize - The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  7. "Tobias Prize - The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  8. "The members - The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  9. Center for Molecular Medicine, "Göran K. Hansson new Permanent Secretary for the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences", 2015.
  10. "History". The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 18 October 2009.