Austrian Academy of Sciences

The Austrian Academy of Sciences

The Austrian Academy of Sciences (Kaiserliche Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien) was founded in Vienna by the Emperor Ferdinand I in 1846. This was not the result of the first attempt to found an Academy in Austria, for in fact the idea goes back to 1713 when Leibniz suggested establishing an Academy of Sciences in Vienna, quoting the Royal Society in London and the Academy of Sciences in Paris as models to use. Nothing came of Leibniz's proposals, nor did later proposals made J C Gottsched in 1750 meet with any greater success.

The successful proposal for an Austrian Academy of Sciences came in 1837 in a petition submitted by twelve scholars. It still took many years of negotiation before the Academy formally came into being, and the foundation in 1846 was formalised by an Imperial Patent on 14 May 1847. The first President of the Academy was Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall, an orientalist, and Doppler was an early member of the Academy being elected in 1848. The Academy moved into permanent buildings in 1857. These buildings, in the centre of Vienna, had belonged to the old University of Vienna, and had been built between 1753 and 1755 to the design of the French architect Jean Nicolas Jadot. Research activity in a wide range of sciences soon flourished:-

Especially in the first few decades of its existence, the Academy gained renown with pioneering achievements in many fields. For instance, it was responsible for founding the Central Office for Meteorology and Geomagnetism in 1851, the establishment of the observatories on the peaks of the Sonnblick and the Obir mountains, and in 1909 founded the Institute for Radium Research in Vienna.

The Academy has two classes, namely mathematics and science, and history and philosophy. Its main aims are set out in its statutes where it is stated:-

The Austrian Academy of Sciences is a legal entity under the special protection of the Federal Republic of Austria. ... Its mission is to promote the sciences and humanities in every respect and in every field, particularly in basic research.

The Academy has made especially important contributions to physics with Boltzmann and Schrödinger among its most prominent members.

In 1973 the Academy established its own publishing house. Between 60 and 80 publications come out every year containing the latest research results. In mathematics it publishes the following journals:

  1. Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Mathematisch- Naturwissenschaftliche Klasse. Anzeiger;
  2. Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Klasse. Denkschriften;
  3. Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Klasse. Sitzungsberichte. Abteilung II. Mathematische, Physikalische und Technische Wissenschaften.

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