Heidelberg Academy of Sciences

The Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities

The Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities was founded in 1909. It was inaugurated on 3 July of that year with a ceremony to mark the occasion. The Academy has close links with the traditions of the Kurpfaelzische Akademie der Wissenschaften (Academy of Sciences of the Electoral Palatinate) and this was stated in the founding document as well as on the seal and medals of the Academy. The Kurpfaelzische Akademie is much older, dating back to 1763 when it was founded in Mannheim by Charles Theodore (1724-1799). At this time Charles Theodore was Prince-elector and Count Palatine, and Duke of Jülich and Berg. Later, in 1777, he was also prince-elector and Duke of Bavaria. This new role led to him moving the Kurpfaelzische Akademie to Munich in 1778. This Academy was closed in 1803 as a result of the Napoleonic wars.

Karl Wilhelm Konstantin Philipp Lanz (1873-1921) was an engineer and industrialist who was well known for his technical innovations. He took over his father's business in 1905 and donated large sums to various projects, for example for aviation projects to support German experiments. He gave one million gold-marks to fund the setting up of a new Academy in Heidelberg which he saw as a re-founding of the Kurpfaelzische Akademie. The Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities was founded with the patronage of Friedrich II (1857-1928), the Grand Duke of Baden. Friedrich II had become Grand Duke of Baden in 1907 following the death of his father Friedrich I and ruled until 1918 when the German monarchies were abolished. Karl Lanz was made an honorary member of the new Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. He was also awarded an honorary degree by the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg in 1909.

In 1918 the German monarchies were abolished and the residence of the Grand Duke of Baden on Karlsplatz (a spacious square named after the Grand Duke Karl Friedrich) in Heidelberg became vacant. In 1920 the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities moved into the former residence of the Grand Duke of Baden on the Karlsplatz. The building had been constructed in 1710 as a city palace for the Privy Councillor and chief clerk Carl Philipp Freiherr von Hundheim. It is situated immediately below the castle and, after the castle was struck by lightning in 1767 and become uninhabitable, the building served as a residence for the Palatine Elector and later for the Grand Duke of Baden.

The Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities became the Baden-Württemberg State Academy in 1958. The Academy's Statutes give it special protection and legal supervision of the Ministry of Higher Education, Art and Research of the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. The Academy website states [1]:-

Throughout its existence the Heidelberg Academy has upheld its allegiance to the purpose for which it was originally constituted: assembling the outstanding scholars and scientists of the state of Baden-Württemberg for cross-disciplinary exchange and independent research. Like its seven counterparts in other German states (Berlin, Göttingen, Munich, Leipzig, Mainz, Düsseldorf and Hamburg), the Baden-Württemberg State Academy in Heidelberg is a member of the Union of German Academies of Sciences and Humanities. It is both a scholarly society in the traditional sense of the term and a modern non-university research institution. The Academy organises scholarly and scientific symposia and public lecture series. At the same time it is dedicated to the encouragement of young scholars and scientists, maintaining to this end a Junior Academy of its own, supporting conferences organised by young scholars and scientists and awarding research prizes.
The organisation of the Academy is described on its website [1]:-
In its sessions (plenary and sectional) the Academy serves its members as a forum for regular interdisciplinary discussion of the issues and findings generated by academic research. The full members of the Heidelberg Academy are scholars and scientists from the state of Baden-Württemberg elected on the basis of their outstanding achievements in the sectors they represent. In addition, the Members' Assembly can elect corresponding members from all over the world. The Academy is sub-divided into two Sections, the Philosophical-Historical Section and the Mathematical-Scientific Section. At present it has 190 full and 70 corresponding members from all walks of scholarly and scientific endeavour. The range and variety of the research areas involved give the Academy unparalleled opportunities for a form of scholarly and scientific exchange and cooperation that transcends the boundaries traditionally imposed on academic disciplines, Faculties and universities.
Several of those with biographies in the MacTutor Archive have been members of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. For example:
Alexander Dinghas.
Mathematical-Scientific Section; corresponding member elected 1964.

Albrecht Fröhlich.
Mathematical-Scientific Section; corresponding member elected 1982.

Friedrich Hirzebruch.
Mathematical-Scientific Section; corresponding member elected 1966.

Gottfried Köthe.
Mathematical-Scientific Section; full member elected 1960.

Heinrich-Wolfgang Leopoldt.
Mathematical-Scientific Section; full member elected 1979.

Jacob Lüroth.
Mathematical-Scientific Section; extraordinary member elected 1909.

Oskar Perron.
Mathematical-Scientific Section; full member elected 1920; auswärtiges since 1922.

Friedrich Karl Schmidt.
Mathematical-Scientific Section; full member elected 1953; corresponding member since 1958; full member since 1961.

Udo Wegner.
Mathematical-Scientific Section; full member elected 1941; deleted from the list of members 1947?

Helmut Wielandt.
Mathematical-Scientific Section; full member elected 1960.


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