Bavaria had been keen to join Europe's academy movement since the start of the 18th century. The Academia Carola Albertina, an early forerunner of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities, was founded in 1720 but was not in existence for very long.
Founded in 1722, the “Parnassus Boicus oder neu-eröffneter Musenberg” society (Parnassus Boicus or Bavarian Mountain Muse society) was another precursor to the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Its members were learned lay people and clerics, primarily Augustinian canons and hermits. Their brand of enlightened, secular Catholicism defined the Bavarian academy movement's particular roots. The society published a journal under the same name. Five volumes were produced in the time up until 1740. Its aim was to investigate the natural world and promote Bavarian history.
Production of Parnassus Boicus was halted due to the outbreak of war. The last edition was published in 1740. No other institution that could have furthered the idea of critical research into history and the natural world emerged for quite some time after this.
The 1759 founding charter of the academy refers explicitly to the Parnassus Boicus.
To ensure this new appreciation of the sciences and humanities in Bavaria continued into the future, Johann Georg von Lori (1723–1787), court councillor at the Mint and Mining Commission in Munich, founded the “Bayerische Gelehrte Gesellschaft” (Bavarian Scholarly Society) as a successor to Parnassus Boicus on 12 October 1758.
Right from the start, the founding members wanted the society to be elevated to the status of a royal academy, dedicated to research and scientific progress.
In addition to Johann Georg von Lori, the academy's founding members also included Royal Mint and Mines Councillor Dominicus von Linprun and honorary business councillor Franz Xaver Stubenrauch. Lori drew up a charter that clearly tended towards the structure of an academy.
Sigmund Graf von und zu Haimhausen was the first president of the Bavarian Scholarly Society. He was also head of the Bavarian Mint and Mines Commission (and as such Loris's superior). His good connections to the court gave the society access to the Elector.
The founding charter of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities was signed by Maximilian III Joseph, Elector of Bavaria, on 28 March 1759, the date of his birthday. He confirmed the academy's statutes on 25 June 1759. The academy was initially financed from taxes.
The academy was the first major public scientific institution funded by the state ruler to be established in the royal seat of Munich. At this time, the university was still based in Ingolstadt.
From the very beginning, the academy chose not to take religion or nationality into consideration when choosing members. Instead, prospective members had to submit a paper, which had to be accepted by the academy. Nineteen of the eighty-eight members in the founding year were protestant – and this was at a time when protestants were unable to gain citizenship in Munich.
Members were split into two classes, a historical class and a philosophical class (today, there are four sections). The first class was tasked with collating, collecting and critically reviewing official documents or deeds, letters, inscriptions and antiquities. It was also responsible for researching the history of Bavaria and creating dictionaries.
The second class was responsible for researching the natural world, collecting natural objects or works in Germany and abroad and chemically analysing them as well as distributing scientific findings and inventions for the benefit of agriculture, trade, mining and metallurgy. Further tasks included submitting proposals for surveying land, astronomical observations, the application of meteorological methods for investigating the natural world, water management and calendar systems as well as statistical functions.
During these first years, the academy does not have its own premises. Members initially meet at Burgstrasse 5 and then in the apartment of President Haimhausen. Later, the academy meets in rooms next to the court library.
In 1760, the academy moves into its first permanent home near the Schwabing city gate. The property is owned by the Fugger family and located between Theatinerstrasse and Faulhaberstrasse (today the site of the Fünf Höfe centre).
On 6 June, the academy invites guests to witness a very rare event at its observatory located in a part of the city known as the Rockerl (which is today on the site of Bavaria's Highest Building Authority). This high-profile public demonstration of Venus transiting across the sun brings the academy's research activities to the attention of Munich's wider population for the first time.
The academy starts collecting and editing old Bavarian documents in its Monumenta Boica journal. This work shapes the organisation’s special focus on history and establishes Munich’s position as a centre for historical studies in Germany. The first volume was published in 1763. Today, the collection covers around 100 extensive volumes.
In 1779, the academy establishes a belletristic class in addition to its historical and philosophical class. The new class is dedicated to literature, theatre, language and the fine arts. However, it is shut down a few years later in 1785 under the rule of Charles Theodore, Elector of Bavaria, when several of its members are suspected of belonging to the Illuminati Order, which is banned in 1785.
The academy starts making systematic meteorological observations as far back as 1759. From 1781 on, it moves these activities to Hohe Peißenberg mountain to the southwest of Munich and also publishes its results. The Bavarian meteorological observatory wasn’t integrated into a national body until 1934, when it became part of the newly founded Reich Weather Service. Today, it is run by Germany's National Meteorological Service.
The academy moves to the Wilhelminum, a spacious college building on Neuhauser Strasse that used to belong to the Jesuit order before it was dissolved. It remains here until the Second World War.
On 21 March, the members of the academy use a ballot box for the first time for its annual election.
This system is an effective, secret ballot that uses black and white wooden balls. Voting members use a white ball to vote yes and a black ball to vote no. The academy uses this procedure to this day to select its members.
Under King Ludwig I (1786-1868), the academy returns to its roots as an independent community of scholars and a research hub. Its members are released from public service. The “attributes” are removed from the organisation. Some are consolidated into a newly created general academy, which was also headed by the president of the academy until 1936. Other attributes are incorporated into the study collections at the University.
King Ludwig I appoints Friedrich Wilhelm Schelling as president of the academy.
The polytechnic collection, formerly an attribute of the academy, becomes a "central polytechnic institute". This is a forerunner of the technical college which later becomes the Technical University of Munich as it is known today.
Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, the discoverer of x-rays, is awarded the first Nobel Prize for physics and becomes the academy's first Nobel Prize winner.t gleichzeitig auch der erste Nobelpreisträger der Akademie.
composer to the Munich court
Foundation of the Commission for the Publication of the Fichte bequest.
On its 200th anniversary, the academy moves into its new home in the north-east wing of Munich's Residenz palace, which was built by Leo von Klenze. The academy now has 135 offices and rooms, a library, two classrooms and a prestigious lecture theatre seating up to 420 people.
The Commission for Medieval German Literature is founded. Its aim is to investigate how medieval literature was passed down through the ages.
In 2009, the academy celebrates its 250th anniversary with a wide range of events, publications, exhibitions and ceremonies.
An agreement to expand the SuperMUC high-end supercomputer at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre is signed.
At the end of 2014 / start of 2015, a further 74,304 process cores featuring the latest Intel Xeon technology are added to the existing 155,656 process cores. A further 198 terabytes expand the main memory, taking it from 340 to 538 terabytes. Nine extra petabytes were added to the 12-petabyte background memory. Peak processing speed doubles to 6.4 petaflops.
Young Researchers in Science (“Jugend forscht”)
In 2015, the Bavarian Academy of Sciences carried out one of the most sustainable reorganizations since its foundation, reforming both structure and working methods. The new statutes strengthened the importance of basic research and established flexible working and discussion formats for current issues and the further promotion of young scientists.
Zu Beginn des Jahres 2016 nahm das interakademische Projekt „Der Österreichische Bibelübersetzer“ mit Arbeitsstellen an der Universität Augsburg und an der Berlin-Brandenburgischen Akademie der Wissenschaften seine Arbeit auf. Die Forschungsgruppen edieren und kommentieren die Werke eines österreichischen Anonymus, der bereits im 14. Jahrhundert die Bibel für die Laien in die Volkssprache übersetzt hat.
Breakthrough for personalized medicine thanks to SuperMUC: A European research team led by Professor Peter Coveney achieved a great success in the field of personalized medicine in 2016: The research group was able to show that it is possible to use the supercomputer to identify which standard breast cancer drugs cannot help these patients on the basis of genome data from patients. The team was able to use the entire supercomputer SuperMUC at the Leibniz Computing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences with all its resources in an "Extreme Scaling Workshop".
30 years of KdiH: The "Catalogue of German-language Illustrated Manuscripts of the Middle Ages" (Katalog der deutschsprachigen illustrierten Handschriften des Mittelalters, KdiH) celebrated its anniversary in 2016: 30 years ago, the project began its interdisciplinary research at the Academy. On this occasion, a scientific colloquium took place from 7 to 9 September. The KdiH describes, documents and analyses the illustrated manuscripts; it is a working tool for medievalists of all disciplines.
"dhmuc" network strengthens the digital humanities in Munich as a science location: The Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities, the Bavarian State Library, the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich and the German Museum have signed a cooperation agreement for the creation of a network for digital humanities in Munich. Under the name "dhmuc. Digital Humanities Munich", the network institutionalizes the successful cooperation of recent years in the working group of the same name. The aim of the network is to strengthen and further develop the digital humanities and social sciences in Munich.
Handover of office: In October 2016, the plenum of the Community of Scholars elected Thomas O. Höllmann as the new Academy President. The sinologist will take office on 1 January 2017. He succeeds the mathematician Karl-Heinz Hoffmann, who did not run for president after two terms of office.
The project Lexicon musicum Latinum medii aevi (LmL) celebrated the successful conclusion of its research work with a two-day international symposium. Since 1960 scientists at the Academy have been working on the dictionary of medieval music terminology. After 56 years, the work is now available in printed and digital form: It comprises a total of 3,733 word articles, 26 accompanying publications and an online dictionary.
From the slip box to the world wide web: The Bavarian Dictionary goes online. Thanks to many digital tools on the new homepage, interested parties from all over the world can browse, research and do research in the extensive material collection of the Bavarian Dictionary.
Experience science! Around 3,000 guests will respond to the Academy's call in May and visit the BAdW Open Day.
The contract for the delivery of the next supercomputer at the Leibniz Computing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences is signed. If a ranking of the worldwide supercomputers were to take place today, the promised performance of the SuperMUC-NG would land in third place in the world ranking list dominated by Chinese supercomputers.
On 13 July, Science Minister Marion Kiechle and Academy President Thomas O. Höllmann signed a target agreement between the Bavarian State Ministry of Science and the Arts and the BAdW. The funds from the Pact for Research and Innovation will be used to promote women in research, strengthen young scientists, modernise governance structures and further open up the Academy to society.
The Bavarian Institute for Digital Transformation (bidt) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences started its work in September 2018. The bidt was founded with the aim of developing a sound understanding of digital transformation. Its task is to collect and advance questions and discourses on the topic across all disciplines.
Selected events of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities are now available online as podcasts, from discussion evenings to lectures. The audio recordings in the "BAdW-Cast" give a broad public access to important discussions in science and society. New episodes can be called up regularly via the free subscription: https://badw.de/die-akademie/presse/podcast.html
Erstmals liegt die 1905 mit großem Erfolg uraufgeführte Literaturoper "Salome" von Richard Strauss, eines der Hauptwerke der musikalischen Moderne, in einer quellenkritischen Edition vor. Erstellt hat die Ausgabe das Projekt "Kritische Ausgabe der Werke von Richard Strauss" an der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (BAdW).
Der Thesaurus linguae Latinae ist online: Alle bislang erschienenen Bände sind im Open Access kostenfrei zugänglich. Die Bände A-M und O-P des Thesaurus sind jetzt im Open-Access-Verfahren online und kostenfrei zugänglich – das entspricht rund 80.000 DIN A 4-Seiten. Zudem ist der 228-seitige Index der zitierten Autoren und Werke online. Zeitgleich mit dem online-Gang feierte die Akademie das 125jährige Bestehen des Thesaurus.
Das Quanteninternet kommt in Reichweite: Abhörsichere Kommunikation zwischen Quantencomputern realisiert. Einem internationalen Team, angeführt von Physikern der Technischen Universität
München (TUM), ist es erstmals gelungen, eine sichere Quantenkommunikation im Mikrowellenbereich in einem lokalen Quanten-Netzwerk experimentell zu realisieren. Die neue Architektur ist ein entscheidender Schritt hin zu verteiltem Quantenrechnen. Die Versuche fanden am Walther-Meissner-Institut (WMI) der
Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften statt.