Stockholm University will celebrate Svante Arrhenius' birthday on February 19 with a series of presentations on current research related to his discoveries.

Svante Arrhenius began his studies in Uppsala. The theories he developed in his thesis were met first with such scepticism that he passed only with the lowest possible grade. After a time his theories were re-evaluated and in 1891 he received a teaching post at Stockholm University College (later Stockholm University) where he subsequently became professor of physics.

In 1896 Svante Arrhenius also became the first scientist to quantify the ability of carbon dioxide to lock in heat radiation, a process which has since come to be known as the greenhouse effect.

"Arrhenius' calculations of how much the earth's average temperature would increase if the carbon dioxide content doubled have been shown to correspond surprisingly well with the estimates made today with much more sophisticated methods," says Henning Rodhe, Professor of Chemical Meteorology at Stockholm University.

In 1903 Svante Arrhenius became the first Swede to be awarded a Nobel Prize. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his discovery that chemical compounds in solution can conduct electric currents. Together with Ostwald and van't Hoff, Arrhenius is generally considered as one of the founders of physical chemistry.

"For today's chemists Arrhenius is probably best known for the fundamental equation that describes how the speed of chemical reactions depends on temperature. For high school students within the natural sciences, this formula is an early acquaintance," says Henning Rodhe.

Arrhenius was described as a man who happily combined career and family. He showed early on in life a great interest in reaching out to the public by means of popular scientific lectures and books, including Världarnas utveckling (1906, Worlds in the Making), Stjärnornas Öden (1915, Destiny of the Stars) and others.

This commitment is continued today at Stockholm University in the form of public lectures, a tradition which has been upheld since the late 1800s. Svante Arrhenius' name also lives on in the Arrhenius Laboratories, which house many of the science departments at the University.

"Arrhenius' broad multidisciplinary knowledge, his ability to formulate original and fruitful questions and his great social skills made him a research leader of the highest international class. Stockholm University can be proud to have had him as a teacher and researcher. May his legacy live on in the future," says Henning Rodhe.

Time and place: Thursday, February 19 at 12.30-13.15 in the Mezzanine, Aula Magna.
Lectures at 13.15-13.45 in Spelbomskan and Mimer.

For further information on Svante Arrhenius contact:
Henning Rodhe, Professor of Chemical Meteorology, tel: +46 (0)8-16 43 42
Sven Lidin, Professor of Inorganic Chemistry, tel: +46 (0)8-16 12 56, mobile: +46 (0)70-9302930,

For further information about the event please contact:
Linda Carlsson, Project Manager, Stockholm University, tel: +46 (0)8-16 22 56, mobile 070-329 76 63, e-mail

Ylva Carl Heim-Gyll Sköld, Information Officer, Faculty of Science, tel: +46 (0)8-16 39 04, mobile: +46 (0)70-219 78 28, e-mail

For images contact:
Stockholm University Press Service, e-mail: or tel: +46 (0)8-16 40 90.