History - Retrospective - Copenhagen

1990 Falkoner Centret - Town Hall

Copenhagen is the gateway to Northern Europe. It has been so during the last five hundred years. Whatever the Nordic periphery had to offer to the countries of the European centre, it has primarily flowed through the capital of Denmark. But there has always been a possibly stronger counter-current influencing Copenhagen, coming from the rest of the continent and reaching the rest of Scandinavia. The enrichment has been intense and mutual.
Brilliant scientists have illuminated this gateway: Ole C. Rømer measured in 1676 the speed of light, obtaining a quite accurate value of 225,000 km/s. We have to take into account that it had been widely assumed since antiquity that light transmission is instantaneous.
Rømer developed his research at the University of Copenhagen, mainly in the fields of astronomy and mathematics. He did publish, as well, some rare manuscripts of another famous Danish astronomer: Tycho Brahe. Later on he would be personally appointed by Louis XIV of France to join the Royal Observatory in Paris, where he focused on the observation of eclipses of the moons of Jupiter. He then returned to Copenhagen, where King Christian V was so impressed by his work that he built a new observatory for him near the capital. Rømer became mayor of the city of Copenhagen and, in 1707, he was promoted to head of the state council for the entire kingdom of Denmark.
Another notable figure is Hans Christian Ørsted who, on a spring evening in Copenhagen in 1820, transformed the separate subjects of electricity and magnetism into the new science of electromagnetism.
However, the most prominent Danish scientists of all times may be Niels Bohr. He was professor of theoretical physics at the University of Copenhagen and director of the Institute for Theoretical Physics. Bohr received the Nobel Prize in 1922 and remained in the forefront of atomic research throughout his entire life. The Institute became the point of reference for theoretical physicists around the world, and it was simply unique in its positive encouragement for new ideas and its openness. Werner Heisenberg would formulate his famous uncertainty principle there.
Copenhagen has therefore been the gateway, as well, between the infinitely big and the infinitely small in science: from planets to atoms and vice versa.



  • Paul Vauterin - Bruno Callens : "Automated meteor observation station" B

  • Waltraud Schulze: "The effect of assimilatory starch for the growth of Arabidopsis Thaliana" D

  • Annagh Minchin : "Colpomenia Peregrina, an inmigrant alga to Europe" IRL

  • Donatella Manganelli: "Silence, micro-organisms at work !" I

  • Brian Dolan - Lee Kiera - Ann Marie Malon : "A study of the transition to turbulence in Reynold's experiment" UK
  • Marco Ziegler: "Drinking water examination with special consideration of corrosion aspects" CH

  • Morten Larsen : "Hand reader" DK

  • Jan Lichtenberg : "Unilyser, a universal computer system for chemical analysis" D

  • Stefan Scheller : "Computer-aided holography for optical and acoustical reconstruction" D

  • Beatriz Pias - Mercedes Pias - Ana Riveiro : "The Atlantic brushwood as a natural resource" E

  • Gianni Insacco : "Fossil remains in vertebrates in continental pleistocene deposits in the region of comiso, South-East Italy" I
  • Ian Thompson - Graham Miller : "Investigation of oils used in soap manufacture" UK
  • Geraldine Brossard : "Toxocara Canis or the grande vadrouille of a parasite" CH

  • Anders Jensen - Lars Gleesborg: "Handicap telephone" DK

  • Bruno Callens: "Automated meteor observation station" B


    Peter Swinnerton-Dyer
    Fritz Paschke
    Alfred Frennet
    Thor Bak
    Werner Rathmayer
    Galo Ramírez
    Mireille Polvé
    Christos Louis
    Pierce Ryan
    Luigi Dadda
    Joseph Lahr
    Hendrik de Waard
    Augusto Barroso