History of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences

Science is an indispensable part of any nation's culture and at the same time an important prerequisite of the economic and social progress of a country.

The development of scientific thought in Lithuania saw periods of excellence and decline. Under the impact of national revival an attempt was made to establish the Academy of Sciences as the highest autonomous institution of science and culture in Lithuania, which besides its direct science development and promotion functions would also stand as a symbol of the State prestige. The idea to establish the Academy of Sciences was first conceived at the beginning of the 20th century by the Lithuanian Learned Society members (J. Basanavicius, K.Buga, J.Sliupas, and others). The most distinguished intellectuals of Lithuania strove to implement it. However, it was not until 1939 Studies was established and it became the basis of the system of the Humanities Institutes of the Academy founded later.

Owing to the historical circumstances, the Academy of Sciences was established on 16 January 1941, i.e. at the moment when Lithuania had already lost its independence. Its first President was the famous Lithuanian scholar and writer V.Krėvė - Mickevičius. During the first stage of its establishment which coincided with the years of the war the Humanities prevailed in the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences. In the postwar years the reestablished Academy of Sciences functioned under harsh conditions when the activities of scientists were strictly regulated but within the Academy of Sciences the progressive scientific thought was always alive. It was especially stimulated by a great authority in electrochemistry, Prof. Juozas Matulis, the long-standing President of the Academy of Sciences. A number of science institutions were established, and the scientific community was growing. The most advanced were the studies in the fields of physics, mathematics and in some natural sciences. Their main research trends were taking shape. It was in these fields that the most significant scientific results widely known and recognized all over the world were achieved. The ideologized humanities and social sciences were on the decline. However, the ideas of nation's statehood and sovereignty, love and concern for the country's problems and fate have never perished.

The Academy of Sciences made a major contribution in promoting the idea of restoration of Lithuania's independence and in creating the ways and means of its implementation. As early as in 1989 the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences proclaimed its independence of the USSR Academy of Sciences. This proclamation initiated a period of reforms. At that time the President of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences was the prominent physicist Academician Juras Požela. In March 1990 the Academy of Sciences announced its decision to be independent of any state or political institution. At that time the Academy of Sciences was structured as a network of 17 scientific research institutes, and a number of auxiliary scientific and industrial enterprises. More than 5.6 thousand employees worked there, including 2 thousand scientists who were engaged in research.

On February 12, 1991 a law of the Lithuanian Republic on Science and Studies was passed which defined the status of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences within the system of the country's scientific institutions and determined its relations with the State. According to this law, a new Statute of the Academy of Sciences was drafted and on 18 March 2003 confirmed by the Parliament of the Lithuanian Republic. The enactment of the law mentioned above and the new Statute of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences ended the period of reforms in the Academy. Since 1992 to 2003 the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences was headed by the well-known biochemist Academician Benediktas Juodka. Since 2003 to 2009 the Academy was headed by the well-know physicist Academician Zenonas Rokus Rudzikas. On April 21, 2009 Academician Valdemaras Razumas  has been elected the President of the Academy.

The prestige and influence of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences is felt in nearly every field of the country's scientific life. This has been achieved by close scientific cooperation. The scientists trained by the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences work in a large number of Lithuania's scientific and educational institutions. Out of 29 state scientific research institutes functioning nowadays 24 institutes were established and expanded by the Academy of Sciences.

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