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History of the Academy

Becoming the National Academy

On July 1st, 1990, the day the GDR abandons its old currency in favor of the Deutschmark, Benno Parthier (XIV. President, 1990-2003) is elected President of the Leopoldina. After the reunification, he manages to adapt the Leopoldina’s structure and methods of operation to current scientific demands and successfully steer the Academy into a now reunified German scientific landscape.

These new challenges include reorganizing the Sections and the Senate and changing the election regulations, which significantly lowers the average age among members. A broader interdisciplinary perspective on the Academy’s range of fields is also needed, which still primarily include medicine and the natural sciences.

In February 2003 renowned scientist Volker ter Meulen from Würzburg becomes the Academy’s XXV. President (2003-2010). For the first time since 1878 a prominent external research personality assumes leadership of the Leopoldina. Under his presidency, the Leopoldina begins to collaborate intensively with international committees.

The scope of these international activities caused Annette Schavan, the former German Federal Minister of Education and Research, to propose to the Joint Science Conference of the federal and state governments, that the Leopoldina be appointed first German National Academy of Sciences. The proposal is passed in February 2008 and the Leopoldina is officially appointed the National Academy of Sciences during a ceremony the following July. Since then, the Leopoldina is under the patronage of the Federal President of Germany.