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The Most Famous

PHYSICISTS from Sweden

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This page contains a list of the greatest Swedish Physicists. The pantheon dataset contains 717 Physicists, 15 of which were born in Sweden. This makes Sweden the birth place of the 12th most number of Physicists behind Austria and Switzerland.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Swedish Physicists of all time. This list of famous Swedish Physicists is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Swedish Physicists.

Photo of Manne Siegbahn

1. Manne Siegbahn (1886 - 1978)

With an HPI of 68.34, Manne Siegbahn is the most famous Swedish Physicist.  His biography has been translated into 72 different languages on wikipedia.

Karl Manne Georg Siegbahn FRS(For) HFRSE (3 December 1886 – 26 September 1978) was a Swedish physicist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1924 "for his discoveries and research in the field of X-ray spectroscopy".

Photo of Anders Jonas Ångström

2. Anders Jonas Ångström (1814 - 1874)

With an HPI of 66.97, Anders Jonas Ångström is the 2nd most famous Swedish Physicist.  His biography has been translated into 57 different languages.

Anders Jonas Ångström (Swedish: [ˈânːdɛʂ ˈjûːnas ˈɔ̂ŋːstrœm]; 13 August 1814 – 21 June 1874) was a Swedish physicist and one of the founders of the science of spectroscopy.Ångström is also well known for his studies of astrophysics, heat transfer, terrestrial magnetism, and the aurora borealis. In 1852, Ångström formulated in Optiska undersökningar (Optical investigations), a law of absorption, later modified somewhat and known as Kirchhoff's law of thermal radiation.

Photo of Hannes Alfvén

3. Hannes Alfvén (1908 - 1995)

With an HPI of 63.97, Hannes Alfvén is the 3rd most famous Swedish Physicist.  His biography has been translated into 68 different languages.

Hannes Olof Gösta Alfvén (Swedish: [alˈveːn]; 30 May 1908 – 2 April 1995) was a Swedish electrical engineer, plasma physicist and winner of the 1970 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on magnetohydrodynamics (MHD). He described the class of MHD waves now known as Alfvén waves. He was originally trained as an electrical power engineer and later moved to research and teaching in the fields of plasma physics and electrical engineering. Alfvén made many contributions to plasma physics, including theories describing the behavior of aurorae, the Van Allen radiation belts, the effect of magnetic storms on the Earth's magnetic field, the terrestrial magnetosphere, and the dynamics of plasmas in the Milky Way galaxy.

Photo of Kai Siegbahn

4. Kai Siegbahn (1918 - 2007)

With an HPI of 62.53, Kai Siegbahn is the 4th most famous Swedish Physicist.  His biography has been translated into 58 different languages.

Kai Manne Börje Siegbahn (20 April 1918 – 20 July 2007) was a Swedish physicist who was awarded the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Photo of Rolf Maximilian Sievert

5. Rolf Maximilian Sievert (1896 - 1966)

With an HPI of 62.08, Rolf Maximilian Sievert is the 5th most famous Swedish Physicist.  His biography has been translated into 37 different languages.

Rolf Maximilian Sievert (Swedish: [ˈrɔlf maksɪˈmǐːlɪan ˈsǐːvɛʈ]; 6 May 1896 – 3 October 1966) was a Swedish medical physicist whose major contribution was in the study of the biological effects of ionizing radiation. The sievert (Sv), the SI unit representing the stochastic health risk of ionizing radiation, is named for him. He has been called the "Father of Radiation Protection".

Photo of Johannes Rydberg

6. Johannes Rydberg (1854 - 1919)

With an HPI of 61.39, Johannes Rydberg is the 6th most famous Swedish Physicist.  His biography has been translated into 42 different languages.

Johannes (Janne) Robert Rydberg (Swedish: [ˈrŷːdbærj]; 8 November 1854 – 28 December 1919) was a Swedish physicist mainly known for devising the Rydberg formula, in 1888, which is used to describe the wavelengths of photons (of visible light and other electromagnetic radiation) emitted by changes in the energy level of an electron in a hydrogen atom.

Photo of Gustaf Dalén

7. Gustaf Dalén (1869 - 1937)

With an HPI of 61.04, Gustaf Dalén is the 7th most famous Swedish Physicist.  His biography has been translated into 76 different languages.

Nils Gustaf Dalén (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈɡɵ̂sːtav daˈleːn] (listen); 30 November 1869 – 9 December 1937) was a Swedish Nobel laureate and industrialist, engineer, inventor and long-term CEO of the AGA company and inventor of the AGA cooker and the Dalén light. In 1912 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his "invention of automatic regulators for use in conjunction with gas accumulators for illuminating lighthouses and buoys".

Photo of Oskar Klein

8. Oskar Klein (1894 - 1977)

With an HPI of 55.99, Oskar Klein is the 8th most famous Swedish Physicist.  His biography has been translated into 29 different languages.

Oskar Benjamin Klein (Swedish: [ˈklajn]; 15 September 1894 – 5 February 1977) was a Swedish theoretical physicist.

Photo of Christopher Polhem

9. Christopher Polhem (1661 - 1751)

With an HPI of 54.70, Christopher Polhem is the 9th most famous Swedish Physicist.  His biography has been translated into 29 different languages.

Christopher Polhammar (18 December 1661 – 30 August 1751) better known as Christopher Polhem (listen ), which he took after his ennoblement in 1716, was a Swedish scientist, inventor and industrialist. He made significant contributions to the economic and industrial development of Sweden, particularly mining. He was ennobled by King Charles XII of Sweden for his contributions to Swedish technological development.

Photo of Knut Ångström

10. Knut Ångström (1857 - 1910)

With an HPI of 49.58, Knut Ångström is the 10th most famous Swedish Physicist.  His biography has been translated into 19 different languages.

Knut Johan Ångström (12 January 1857 – 4 March 1910) was a Swedish physicist. He was the son of physicist Anders Jonas Ångström and studied in Uppsala from 1877 to 1884, when he received his licentiat-degree, before going for a short time to the University of Strassburg (Strasbourg) to study with August Kundt. Coming back to Uppsala, he completed his doctoral degree and was appointed lecturer in physics at the new university college in Stockholm (now Stockholm University) in 1885. After a few years working there, he returned to Uppsala in 1891 and received the professorship of Physics in 1896.He focused his research work on investigating the radiation of heat from the sun, terrestrial nocturnal emission and its absorption by the Earth's atmosphere, and to that end devised various delicate methods and instruments, including his electric compensation pyrheliometer, invented in 1893, apparatus for obtaining a photographic representation of the infra-red spectrum (1895) and pyrgeometer (abt. 1905). In 1900, Herr J. Koch, laboratory assistant to Knut Ångström, did not observe any appreciable change in the absorption of infrared radiation by decreasing the concentration of CO2 up to a third of the initial amount. This result, in addition to the observation made a couple of years before that the superposition of the water vapour absorption bands, more abundant in the atmosphere, over those of CO2, convinced some geologists for a time that calculations by Svante Arrhenius for CO2 warming were wrong; though subsequent work in following decades eventually vindicated Arrhenius.The experiment, however, was careless seen from the current perspective with erroneous result but of a historical significance in the development of the theory of the greenhouse effect amplified by CO2. He was elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1893.

Pantheon has 15 people classified as physicists born between 1661 and 1967. Of these 15, 2 (13.33%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living physicists include Max Tegmark and Sverker Johansson. The most famous deceased physicists include Manne Siegbahn, Anders Jonas Ångström, and Hannes Alfvén. As of April 2022, 1 new physicists have been added to Pantheon including Sverker Johansson.

Living Physicists

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Deceased Physicists

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Newly Added Physicists (2022)

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Which Physicists were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 11 most globally memorable Physicists since 1700.