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Centre for Science Studies

Centre for Science Studies

Conference of the "Adjunkten", Jena 1859. Image: Leopoldina Archive.

The Centre for Science Studies coordinates all the academy’s activities regarding the history, theory and philosophy of science. Its work is centered on the position and significance of science in society — past and present. The Centre provides research facilities for visiting scientists, who want to avail themselves of the Leopoldina's archives and library.

The Leopoldina Centre for Science Studies currently operates, initiates, coordinates and organizes research in four areas, each consisting of several separate projects.

Research field 1: International science relations

Science has no national borders. This holds true starting from the era of Antiquity, through the age of the great scientific discoveries until the present time. In several research projects the scientific exchange across borders is examined. Among them are projects about the Eurasian knowledge transfer around 1900 and the international relations of European academies in 1914-1924.

Research field 2: History and early history of the Leopoldina

The Leopoldina, founded in 1652 in Schweinfurt, Germany, has already played an important role during its first years of existence in the concert of international academies, recognizable not least in the extensive publication program which first climaxed in 1670 with the publication of the first scientific magazine of the world, the “Miscellanea”. A core mission of the Leopoldina Centre for Science Studies is the independent and academic examination of its own history. According to the current president Prof. Dr. Jörg Hacker, it is an essential task to make the academy accountable for its own history. Besides recently concluded projects on the history of the Leopoldina in the 20th century, the Study Centre furthermore investigates the media history, cultural history and history of ideas of the early Leopoldina (17./18th centuries).

Research field 3: Basic questions of science and society

At the Leopoldina fundamental questions of science and society are examined, exceeding the individual subject discussion. Historical perspectives are combined with contemporary perspectives in order to profit from the insights of the ever-changing historical condition and structure of the sciences. The Study Centre tries to involve all classes of the Leopoldina in this research field.

Research field 4: Scientific editions and digital development forms within the history of science

Digital data storage and its development forms create a new work environment for all sciences. These do not stand in competition, but are rather a supplement to the still inalienable printed editions. The Study Centre promotes and supports digital, as well as print editions. The first edition of Goethe's Scientific Writings was already published in 1947; in 2011 the edition was concluded. Equally important is the letter edition Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919), one of the most important data sources on bioscience. Alongside, the Study Centre establishes data banks and other digital development forms.

Scientific Advisory Board


Ex officio members


Deputy Members

Advisory Members

  • Prof. Dr. Rainer Godel, Halle, head of the Centre for Science Studies
  • Dr. Danny Weber, Halle, head of the Leopoldina archive and library



Prof. Dr. Rainer Godel

Head of Department Centre for Science Studies

Phone 0345 - 47 239 - 115
Fax 0345 - 47 239 - 139
E-Mail rainer.godel @leopoldina.org


A new name for the Leopoldina Study Centre: Interview with Prof. Dr. Dr. Alfons Labisch


The Leopoldina Akademie Freundeskreis e.V. announces the 2018 Johann-Lorenz-Bausch Fellowship. Application deadline is 31 January 2018.