The Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina has been the German National Academy of Sciences since 2008. It addresses key issues of particular significance for the future of society from a scientific perspective and independently of economic or political interests, shares its findings with policymakers and the public, and puts these issues up for discussion on a national and international level.
The election to membership of the Leopoldina is the highest academic honour awarded by an institution in Germany. Founded in Schweinfurt in 1652, the Leopoldina is the world’s oldest continuously existing academy for medicine and the natural sciences. The ranks of its members – over 7,000 in all since the Academy was founded – include such eminent scholars and scientists as Marie Curie, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Alexander von Humboldt, Justus von Liebig and the Berlin catalysis researchers Siegfried Blechert, Hans-Joachim Freund, Bärbel Friedrich, Joachim Sauer, Robert Schlögl, Helmut Schwarz, and Gerhard Ertl.