19 April 2016
Mogens Høgh Jensen new president of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters
Mogens Høgh Jensen, Professor of biophysics at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen has been appointed president of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters.
The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters aims to strengthen the position of science in Denmark. The Academy is led by a Presidium of seven people. At the head is the president, who is elected for four years.
“It is a very interesting post that I have been elected to and a great responsibility – I can already feel it on my shoulders,” he says with a serious look in his eyes, pulling his shoulders down a bit, though quickly smiles broadly – he is very happy with his new duties.
The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters was founded in 1742 with King Christian VI as protector of the learned society and at the initiative of the historian Professor Hans Gram and Count Johan Ludvig Holstein. For nearly 200 years, the society was solely a meeting place for the country’s foremost scientists in both the humanities and natural sciences. But in 1949, August Krogh rebelled against the closed society, which he felt should be open to the public and he wrote in a letter that “the Academy should step out of the shadow of exclusivity..”. It worked and every year since then, the Academy of Sciences and Letters has arranged a series of very popular public talks, lectures with Nobel laureates, scientific symposia and has participated in the Danish Research Festival.
An interdisciplinary melting pot
The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters has about 500 members – 250 Danish and 250 foreign. The distribution is approximately two-fifths humanities and three-fifths natural science members.
“It is a meeting place for the country’s top researchers and an interdisciplinary melting pot. We meet approximately 15 times a year and have a great many discussions and exchange scientific viewpoints from the world of research,” says Mogens Høgh Jensen, who was elected Secretary General of the Academy four years ago and has now risen through the ranks.
As president, he will, among other things, prepare and manage all the meetings, help make decisions on the selection of new members, select recipients of grants and awards, and in his day the Academy of Sciences and Letters was responsible for setting up a government research council to support research activities. The Academy of Sciences and Letters recommends proposals to the members of the Danish Council for Independent Research.