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Yu, H.; Tripathy, D. Helge Kragh. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 05 December 2023).
Yu H, Tripathy D. Helge Kragh. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed December 05, 2023.
Yu, Handwiki, Divya Tripathy. "Helge Kragh" Encyclopedia, (accessed December 05, 2023).
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Helge Kragh
cosmology stjernholm astronomy

1. Introduction

Helge Stjernholm Kragh (born February 13, 1944) is a Danish historian of science who focuses on the development of 19th century physics, chemistry, and astronomy.[1] His published work includes biographies of Paul Dirac, Julius Thomsen and Ludvig Lorenz, and The Oxford Handbook of the History of Modern Cosmology (2019) which he co-edited with Malcolm Longair.[1]

Helge Kragh is a professor emeritus at the University of Aarhus, Denmark. He is known for his work on the history of physics, astronomy, and cosmology, as well as for his contributions to the history and philosophy of science. He studied physics and mathematics at the University of Copenhagen, where he received a PhD in the history of science in 1975. After completing his PhD, Kragh held various academic positions, including a postdoctoral research position at the Niels Bohr Institute and a professorship in the history of science at the University of Aarhus, where he worked from 1991 until his retirement in 2010.

Kragh has published numerous books and articles on the history of science, with a particular focus on the history of physics, astronomy, and cosmology. Some of his most notable works include "An Introduction to the Historiography of Science" (1987), "Cosmology and Controversy" (1996), and "Conceptions of Cosmos: From Myths to the Accelerating Universe" (2007).

In his research, Kragh has sought to understand the development of scientific ideas and theories in their historical context, and to examine the ways in which scientific knowledge has changed over time. He has also explored the relationship between science and other aspects of culture, such as religion and philosophy.

Kragh's work has been widely recognized and has had a significant impact on the field of the history of science. He has received numerous awards and honors for his contributions, including the Niels Bohr Medal for Outstanding Research in the History of Science and Ideas, the Bernal Prize for the Study of Science and Society, and the Pfister Prize for the History of Physics.

2. Biography

Kragh studied physics and chemistry at the University of Copenhagen, graduating with a degree in 1970. He earned his Ph.D. in physics in 1981 at the University of Roskilde. He received a second doctorate, in philosophy, from the University of Aarhus in 2007.[2]

Kragh was an associate professor of history of science at Cornell University from 1987 to 1989, a professor at the University of Oslo from 1995 to 1997, and a professor at Aarhus University in Denmark from 1997 to 2015.[2]

As of 2015 he retired, becoming emeritus professor at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen.[2] He is also a professor emeritus at the Centre for Science Studies of Aarhus University.[3]

Kragh's areas of study are the history of physics from the mid-19th century onward, the history of astronomy, the history of cosmology and the history of chemistry. He is known for his work on the history of the periodic system, early quantum atomic models, speculative cosmology and the northern lights.[3]

3. Honors and Awards

  • 2019, Roy G. Neville Prize for Julius Thomsen: A Life in Chemistry and Beyond (2016), Science History Institute[1][4]
  • 2019, Abraham Pais Prize for History of Physics, American Physical Society (APS)[2][5]
  • President, European Society for the History of Science 2008–2010[6][7]
  • Member, Académie Internationale d'Histoire des Sciences (corresponding member since 1995, full member since 2005)[8]
  • Member, Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters[9]

4. Selected Writings

  • Julius Thomsen: A Life in Chemistry and Beyond (2016)[1]
  • Ludvig Lorenz: A Nineteenth-Century Theoretical Physicist (2018)[1]
  • The Weight of the Vacuum (2014)[7]
  • Masters of the Universe (2015)[7]
  • Varying Gravity: Dirac’s Legacy in Cosmology and Geophysics (2016)[7]
  • Dirac – a scientific biography. Cambridge University Press 1990, 2005, ISBN:0521017564
  • Quantum Generations: A History of Physics in the Twentieth Century. Princeton University Press, 1999
  • An introduction to the historiography of Science. Cambridge University Press, 1987
  • Matter and Spirit in the Universe – scientific and religious preludes to modern cosmology. 2004
  • Conceptions of Cosmos – From Myths to the Accelerating Universe: A History of Cosmology. Oxford University Press, 2006
  • Cosmology and Controversy – the historical development of two theories of the universe. Princeton University Press, 1999
  • The Moon that wasn't – the saga of Venus' spurious satellite. Birkhäuser, 2008
  • Den Sære Historie om Venus' Måne og Andre Naturvidenskabelige Fortællinger (The Strange History of Venus' Moon and Other Scientific Tales). Lindhardt og Ringhof, 2020, ISBN:9788711984000[10]
  • Entropy Creation – religious contexts of thermodynamics and cosmology. Ashgate, London 2008
  • with David Knight, eds.: The Making of the Chemist: The Social History of Chemistry in Europe, 1789–1914. Cambridge University Press, 1998
  • with Peter C. Kjargaard & Henry Nielsen: Science in Denmark – A Thousand-Year History. Aarhus University Press, 2009
  • with Malcolm Longair, eds.: The Oxford Handbook of the History of Modern Cosmology. Oxford University Press, 2019
  • Max Weinstein: Physics, Philosophy, Pandeism, History and Philosophy of Physics, 2019
  • Foreword, Max B. Weinstein, World and Life Views, Emerging From Religion, Philosophy and Perception of Nature, trans. Deborah Moss, 2021
  • List of Kragh's publications up to 2015 at Aarhus University
Further Reading
In this part, we encourage you to list the link of papers wrote by the character, or published reviews/articles about his/her academic contributions. Edit


  1. "Roy G. Neville Prize in Bibliography or Biography". Science History Institute. 
  2. "Abraham Pais Prize for History of Physics: Recipient Helge Kragh Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen". 
  3. "Academic staff". 
  4. "Roy G. Neville Prize awarded to Helge Kragh". Niels Bohr Archive. 14 September 2019. 
  5. "Professor Emeritus Helge Kragh receives the prestigeous [sic Abraham Pais Prize for History of Physics 2019"]. Niels Bohr Institute. 29 May 2019. 
  6. "Website of the ESHS". 
  7. Rocha, Gustavo Rodrigues; Kragh, Helge (28 June 2017). "Interview: Helge Kragh". Transversal: International Journal for the Historiography of Science (2): 233. doi:10.24117/2526-2270.2017.i2.20. Retrieved 16 January 2020. 
  8. "Helge Kragh". 
  9. "Members". 
  10. Kragh, H., "Venus has no moon, yet this moon was discovered in the 1700s", ScienceNordic, June 3, 2020.
Name: Helge Kragh
Born: Feb 1944
Title: Historian of science
Affiliation: Unknown
Honor: Abraham Pais Prize for History of Physics (2019)
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View Times: 603
Entry Collection: HandWiki
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Update Date: 10 Feb 2023