The members of the Leopoldina are organized in 28 sections that are grouped in four classes.
The Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina has been the German National Academy of Sciences since 2008. It addresses key issues of particular significance for the future of society from a scientific perspective and independently of economic or political interests, shares its findings with policymakers and the public, and puts these issues up for discussion on a national and international level.
The Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina was appointed the German National Academy of Sciences on 14 July 2008. The legal basis for its appointment was the decision of the Joint Science Conference (GWK) of Germany and its federal states adopted on 18 February 2008. Since then, the Leopoldina has been under the patronage of the Federal President of Germany. It works independently and is committed to acting in the public interest.
The National Academy was founded with the aim of creating a legitimised institution that would work scientifically and independently of economic or political interests to address key issues of significance for the future of society, that would share its findings with policymakers and the public, and would put these issues up for discussion on a national and international level.
The German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina is registered as a non-profit organisation. It is funded by the German federal government and by the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt, where it is based. With a membership consisting of over 1,500 scientists in around 30 countries, it is both the largest academy in Germany and a supranational association.
Founded in Schweinfurt in 1652, the Leopoldina is the world’s oldest continuously existing academy for medicine and the natural sciences. The Academy elects distinguished academics and scientists to become members. The ranks of its members – over 7,000 in all since the Academy was founded – include such eminent scholars and scientists as Marie Curie, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Alexander von Humboldt, Justus von Liebig and Max Planck.
Since 1878, the Leopoldina has been based in Halle an der Saale in central Germany. Before then, the Academy always moved its seat to the town or city where its current president resided. At the beginning of 2012, the Academy moved into its new headquarters on the Jägerberg in Halle, a location that provides enough room for it to grow into its new role as the German National Academy of Sciences. The German federal government and the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt financed the purchase and refurbishment of the property.
In addition to its headquarters in Halle, the Leopoldina has had an office in the government quarter of Berlin since 2009, which offers convenient proximity to policymakers, the media and international delegations and firmly anchors the Academy close to the heart of political action in Germany.