Skip to main content

Akademie der Wissenschaften

A unique concept

78 Nobel Prize laureates emboss its history. Since its founding, the Berliner Akademie der Wissenschaften enjoys world-wide renown. It was a completely new approach with which Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz founded the “Königlich-Preußische Akademie der Wissenschaften” in 1700 in Berlin. While the “Royal Society” in London or the “Académie des sciences“ in Paris limited themselves to specific scientific fields, the Berliner Akademie was supposed to be all encompassing and bring together the natural sciences and humanities. This Leibnizian concept was so successful that it became the model for the founding of all further academies. Today, the “Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften“ subdivides itself into five classifications comprising the humanities, social sciences, mathematics and natural sciences, biological sciences and medicine as well as the technical sciences. There are international leading scientists represented in each classification. The duties of the academy can be summed up within three areas. Firstly, it tends to dictionary projects, editions, documentations and bibliographies; to this also belongs the care of the extensive library and archive, in which documents spanning 300 years of Berlin’s scientific history are preserved. Secondly, it takes upon itself subjects of higher scientific and social significance and with them carries on its own research projects. And finally, thirdly, the academy offers a forum for the critical discussion of scientific questions.