Title of Academician of Science granted to Markku Kulmala and Ilkka Niiniluoto

Academician of Science is the highest honour that can be bestowed on any individual scientist in Finland. President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö granted the titles at a presidential session today.

Academy Professor Markku Kulmala (@MarkkuKulmala1) is the world’s leading expert in the physics and chemistry of atmospheric aerosols. He conducts research at the forefront of international efforts to significantly increase our understanding of the mechanisms of climate change, creating new opportunities to reduce the pace of climate change and mitigate its effects. He is widely regarded as one of the founders of a new field of research that explores the interactions between ecosystems and the atmosphere. His integrative approach in particular has significantly reshaped established research environments and structures.

Kulmala and his team investigate the impacts of human activity and natural processes on air quality and the climate. Air quality and climate interactions are varied and highly complex phenomena. Polluted air may change the local and even global climate, and the climate affects air quality in many ways. The research offers significant environmental, social and economic benefits.

Professor Emeritus Ilkka Niiniluoto has had a prestigious career in the Finnish scientific and academic community. As a philosopher, he is the author of a number of works on the nature of science and scientific reasoning. During his extensive career he has also had a forceful and versatile role in society and public debate, actively engaging in university reforms and discussions, for instance. A perfect example of this is his anthology Dynaaminen sivistysyliopisto: sata puhetta ja kirjoitusta vuosilta 1987–2010, which introduces the reader to three decades of Niiniluoto’s speeches and writings on science policy and universities in Finland. Niiniluoto’s unswerving analytical approach, even when it comes to difficult issues, has made him a very esteemed figure in science and research.

As a philosopher of science, Niiniluoto has focused on issues such as the progress of scientific knowledge: If two theories explain the same phenomenon differently, how can we judge which theory is more accurate? This concept of truth approximation, put forward by Niiniluoto in his 1987 book Truthlikeness, is of great importance to the philosophy of science. Niiniluoto has also highlighted the significance of scientific realism in his 1999 book Critical Scientific Realism, another notable and highly cited publication. His publication record includes 200 original journal articles and numerous authored or edited books.

In addition to Kulmala and Niiniluoto, the President granted the title of Academician of Science to Academy Professor Eva-Mari Aro from the University of Turku. The letters of appointment will be presented to the new Academicians at a ceremony held in Helsinki on 16 March. 

The title can be held by no more than sixteen highly distinguished Finnish scientists at a time. The President of the Republic of Finland confers the honorary title of Academician of Science based on nominations made by the Academy of Finland.

Markku Kulmala's interview

Ilkka Niiniluoto's interview