I am researching the presence of important scientists in Nordic countries — Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. I was hoping that someone could help me since I've not been able to find relevant information.

It is well known that Eugene Paul Wigner had to travel to Stockholm, Sweden, to receive his Nobel Prize. I thought that he also travelled to Copenhagen, mainly to discuss quantum models with Niels Bohr, like many scientists at the time did, e.g., Paul Dirac, Albert Einstein or John Wheeler. I am pretty convinced that he travelled at least once to Denmark, but did not find anything. So, maybe someone here knows more about this.

Also, I have not found any information that says that Wigner travelled at least once to Norway or Finland. I honestly don't think that any scientist at that time travelled to Iceland, so I'm going to ignore this country.

Finally, I have not found any information that says that John von Neumann travelled at least once to any Nordic country. But, again, this is weird for me. Didn't he go at least once to Copenhagen?

So, did they travelled to any Nordic countries? Didn't they give conferences, for example, at these countries at least once in their lifes?

Thank you for your help in advance!

  • $\begingroup$ I'm not convinced that a person's physical presence in a given locale has anything to do with their effect on science (or politics, or anything else) there. If you're looking for interactions with Nordic scientists, why not search for co-authored papers , for example? $\endgroup$ Jun 5, 2019 at 13:09
  • $\begingroup$ @CarlWitthoft, it is not necessarily unreasonable to speculate that a scientist's presence in a particular location, might imply something about the content of the science being done there. People tend to seek out those of like minds who are pursuing similar questions, those who appear to have made an innovation tend to try to evangelise, and also those in close physical contact (whether by choice or not) tend to try to integrate their mindsets. When a scientist travels a significant distance, it is probably reasonable to suppose that he is either going with a view to learn, to teach, or both. $\endgroup$
    – Steve
    Jun 5, 2019 at 14:21
  • $\begingroup$ @Steve or he just wants to vacation in an exotic clime $\endgroup$ Jun 5, 2019 at 14:28

1 Answer 1


“In Copenhagen again! The brothers Bohr fetched me at the pier, and now I’m established in Niels Bohr’s private palace. I had numerous conversations with the Bohrs and Mrs. Bohr, of course mostly political—but we even managed to talk an hour and a half on ‘the interpretation of quantum mechanics.’ I’m sure we were showing off, the both of us: giving an exhibition, that we can worry about physics in September 1938. It’s all like a dream, a dream of a peculiarly mad quality . . . the Bohrs quarreling, whether Tcheckoslovakia ought to give in—and whether there is any hope for causality in quantum theory.”

John von Neumann to Klára von Neumann, 18 September 1938.

  • $\begingroup$ so this shows that Von Neumann went to Copenhagen, right? Did you find anything of him going to Norway, Sweden and/or Finland? @GeorgeDyson $\endgroup$
    – vinsalm
    Jun 25, 2019 at 0:58

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