The Birkeland Lecture

Birkeland - Romfoto 3
The Birkeland Prize goes to a doctoral degree that best meets Birkeland's research spirit.

Honoring the great scientist Kristian Birkeland

The Birkeland Lecture is above all an endeavor to honor the great Norwegian scientist and entrepreneur Kristian Birkeland.

However, it has also given the organizers an opportunity to invite to Oslo many outstanding scientists within the field of geophysical and space research, areas which were central in Kristian Birkeland’s own research.

The first Birkeland Lecture was given in Oslo in 1987 by the Nobel Laureate Hannes Alfvén. The lecture was a joint venture by:

  • The University of Oslo
  • The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters
  • The Norwegian company Norsk Hydro

In 2004 Yara ASA took the place of Norsk Hydro, and since 2005 the Norwegian Space Centre has been a partner in this cooperation.

Except for the year 1993, when the lecture was presented in Tokyo, and in 1998, when a mini-seminar was organized at the Norwegian Embassy in Tokyo, the lectures have been given in Norway, most of them at the Academy in Oslo. Some years seminars have been arranged in connection with the lectures, e.g. in 1993 when the lecture was a part of a “Joint Japanese – Norwegian Workshop on Arctic Research”, in 1995 when the lecture was a part of a seminar on Norwegian environmental research, and in 2001 when the lecture was given in connection with a workshop on Norwegian space research, with emphasis on the Cluster satellite programme.

In 2017 the Birkeland Lecture was a part of the celebration of Kristian Birkeland’s 150 years anniversary, a three-day event with lectures and seminars.

Kristian Birkeland (farger)
Kristian Birkeland

Yara’s Birkeland Prize
In 2009, Yara's Birkeland Prize in Physics and Chemistry was awarded for the first time. The prize alternates every other year between physics and chemistry, and will go to a doctoral degree that best meets Birkeland's research spirit. The prize of NOK 100,000 and a diploma is awarded in connection with the Birkeland lectures.

Organizing committee:

  • Professor Jan A. Holtet, University of Oslo
  • Professor Alv Egeland, University of Oslo
  • Professor Jøran Moan, University of Oslo
  • Øyvind Sørensen, The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters
  • Svein Flatebø, Yara International ASA
  • Pål Brekke, Norwegian Space Centre

The Birkeland Lecture is open for everybody. Free admission.