Prize Recipient

Helge Kragh

Helge Kragh
Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen


"For influential contributions to the history of physics, especially analyses of cosmological theories and debates, the history of the quantum physics of elementary particles and the solid state, and biographical studies of Paul Dirac and Niels Bohr, and his early quantum atom."


Helge Kragh, born 1944, graduated in physics and chemistry from the University of Copenhagen in 1970. In 1981 he was conferred a doctoral degree (dr. scient.) from Roskilde University and in 2007 another one (dr. phil.) from the University of Aarhus. From 1987 to 1989 he served as associate professor at Cornell University, and from 1995 to 1997 as professor of history of science at the University of Oslo. In 1997 he was appointed professor at the University of Aarhus, a position he held until his retirement in 2015.  Since then he has worked as professor emeritus at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen.

Kragh has worked on the history of the physical sciences including chemistry and astronomy, and often with an emphasis on interdisciplinary connections such as physical chemistry, astrophysics and astrochemistry. Since about 1990 he has cultivated the history of physical cosmology in particular. He has also studied the development of quantum and atomic theories with a focus on Bohr’s atomic theory. His most recent monograph is a scientific biography of the Danish nineteenth-century physicist Ludvig Lorenz.

Kragh is a member of the European Society for History of Science, the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters and several other professional societies. He has been on the advisory board for the Gruber Cosmology Prize and received prizes and awards from the European Physical Society and the American Chemical Society.

Selection Committee:

2019 Selection Committee Members: Mary Jo Nye (Chair), Peter Galison (Peter Galison), Greg Good, Michel Janssen, Peter Zimmerman