Northern Lights - Birkeland

The Birkeland Anniversary 2017

In June 2017 we will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Yara’s founder Kristian Birkeland. The Birkeland Anniversary event will take place in Oslo, Norway.
The Birkeland Anniversary

The famous physicist Birkeland delivered the most important innovation in Norwegian history when he in 1905 discovered how to produce fertilizer by using electricity to extract nitrogen from the air.

In partnership with the businessman Sam Eyde he industrialized fertilizer production which contributed to reduce hunger in Europe in the early 20th century. In Yara, we are proud of our founding father Kristian Birkeland and look forward to celebrate his anniversary in 2017.

In collaboration with the University of Oslo - UiO, Det Norske Videnskaps-Akademi, Norsk Romsenter and Teknisk Museum we will host a joint celebration of Birkeland between 13 – 16 June 2017.

We invite students, industry and business peers, academic institutions and civil society to participate in various events to learn more about the versatile and productive scientist Birkeland. He delivered several groundbreaking discoveries before his tragic death in Tokyo – only 49 year’s old, and left a significant number of scientific theses and patents.

Anniversary program

June 13, 2017

High school students are invited to spend a day at the University of Oslo, where Birkeland was appointed professor of physics in 1898. Who was he and why is his work still relevant for today’s students and researchers? The visiting students will be invited to take part in innovation and science projects within northern lights, space weather and the universe. Visit the UiO website for more information.

June 14, 2017

Yara hosts an innovation day in the University Aula to celebrate its founder, by looking towards the future with the conference "Facing the Future Together".  In 1905,  Birkeland successfully extracted nitrogen from air by using electricity for the first time, a discovery which enabled industrial fertilizer production and alleviated the famine in Europe at the time.

Just like Birkeland contributed to solve the emerging famine in Europa, we want to focus on the possibilities that lie in using innovation to solve the current climate challenge. Prime Minister Erna Solberg will open the conference, NRK-profile Selda Ekiz will lead us through the day,  we will hear from Marius Holm in Zero and other profiles within sustainability issues. Program and registration.

June 15 and 16, 2017

The Domus Academica (Gamle Festsal) at the University of Oslo is central in the history of Birkeland. This is where he demonstrated the electric cannon in 1903, which initially was a failure, but later proved to be the catalyst for an industry adventure.

On June 15, the Department of Physics at UiO hosts «Birkeland Space Weather Symposium» in Domus Academica, inspired by Birkeland’s  pioneering research on Aurora Borealis. A number of international and national scientists will share insights on space weather impacts on modern society.

In the evening the traditional Birkeland lecture is held at The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Visit the DNVA website for more information. On June 16 we continue with a smaller workshop at Yara House in Drammensveien 131. Visit the UiO website to see program and register for the events.


Our partners

DNVA Norwegian space centre Norsk Teknisk Museum
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