“Ich ersuche Sie hiermit, meinen Namen aus der Liste Ihrer korrespondierenden Mitglieder zu streichen!”

“I herewith ask you to cancel my name from the list of your corresponding members!”

Einstein in a letter to the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei in Rome, December 15, 1938


A short story of the Academy

The Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei was founded in 1603 in Rome by the aristocrat Frederico Cesi (1585-1630) who was interested in natural sciences. It is the oldest scientific academy of the world. Among the first members were also the Italian mathematician, philosopher, physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei (1564-1642).

Founding members of the Academy were in addition to Cesi the mathematician Francesco Stelluti (1577-1652), the Dutch doctor, astronomer and natural researcher Johannes van Heeck (1579-1630) and Anastasio de Fillis (1577-1608). In the first years the number of the members was continuously increasing. In 1630 however, after the death of Francesco Cesi, the Academy became more and more unimportant. In 1840 it was closed by Pope Gregor XVI (1765-1846), however, only a short time later it was revived. In the course of time the Academy then lived through a changeful history.

In the year 1926 the Accademia d’Italia was founded by the founder and leader of the Fascist party in Italy, the Duce, Benito Mussolini (1883-1945). In 1939 it was merged with the Accademia dei Lincei. The reason for this merger was that the members of the Accademia dei Lincei had almost all an anti-fascist attitude. This merger could only be cancelled after the collapse of the Fascist regime in 1945.

Since that time the Accademia dei Lincei could be continued according to its history and tradition. Today it is the national Academy of Sciences of Italy.

The Academy is divided into two classes. The membership is comprised of ordinary, foreign as well as corresponding members.

A few names of members of the Academy shall be mentioned here with the indication of the year of their acceptance:

(1611) Galileo Galilei, (1875) Robert Wilhelm Bunsen, (1875) Charles Darwin, (1875) Hermann von Helmholtz, (1876) Theodor Mommsen, (1880) Rudolf Clausius, (1883) Felix Klein, (1888) Louis Pasteur, (1892) Heinrich Hertz, (1894) Adolf von Baeyer, (1895) Ludwig Boltzmann, (1899) Emil Fischer, (1899) Ernst Haeckel, (1901) Guido Castelnuovo, (1903) David Hilbert, (1904) Adolf von Harnack, (1907) Paul Ehrlich, (1913) Adolf Hurwitz, (1914) Max Planck, (1922) Johannes Stark, (1924) Niels Bohr, (1932) Enrico Fermi, (1947) Louis de Broglie, (1947) Frédéric Joliot Curie, (1947) Werner Heisenberg, (1947) Erwin Schrödinger, (1951) William Lawrence Bragg, (1958) Paul Dirac und (1958) Wolfgang Pauli.

Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei in Rom,

Albert Einstein and the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei

The President of the Academy, Vito Volterra (1860-1940), informed Albert Einstein in a letter dated July 25, 1921 that he was elected as foreign member of the physical, mathematical and scientific class 3a. The official acceptance of Einstein into the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei was then effected on September 29, 1921. Because of the Fascist race laws in Italy (several Jewish Italian members had been excluded from the Academy), he ended his membership on December 15, 1938. In a letter of the President of the Academy dated January 2, 1939, Einstein‘s decision was accepted.

After the war the Academy could return to its normal institutional activities. On April 26, 1946 Guido Castelnuova (1865-1952), the President of the natural sciences faculty reports in a letter about the “refoundation” of the Academy and expressed the wish to once again have Einstein as member. Einstein was pleased and accepted on June 25, 1946.

Letters from Einstein to the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei in Rome:

„den 3. Oktober 1938

Reale Accademia Nazionale
dei Lincei

Gemäss Zeitungsmeldungen soll das Ausscheiden jüdischer italienischer Gelehrter aus dortigen Akademien verfügt worden sein. Ich erlaube mir die höfliche Anfrage, ob diese Meldung auf Wahrheit beruht.

Mit ausgezeichneter Hochachtung

Professor Albert Einstein


“October 03, 1938

Reale Accademia Nazionale
dei Lincei

I read in the newspaper that it was ordered to end the membership of Jewish Italian scholars with Italian academies. I allow myself the cordial request whether this fact is true.

With highest esteem

Professor Albert Einstein

Registered letter!“

„den 15. Dezember 1938

Reale Accademia Nazionale
Dei Lincei

Sehr geehrte Herren!

Ich ersuche Sie hiermit, meinen Namen aus der Liste Ihrer korrespondierenden Mitglieder zu streichen!


Professor Albert Einstein.“

“December 15, 1938

Reale Accademia Nazionale
Dei Lincei

Dear Sirs!

I herewith request you to cancel my name from the list of your corresponding members!

Best regards

Professor Albert Einstein.“

“June 26, 1946

To the President of the
Academia Nationale dei Lincei
Rome, Italy


With great pleasure I see from your letter of April 26th 1946 that the Academia Nationale dei Lincei has resumed its activities for the benefit of science, your country having been liberated from fascist oppression. My mailing-address (private) is: 112 Mercer Str. Princeton N.J.

Faithfully yours,

Albert Einstein.

P. S. Dear Dr. Castelnuovo:

I shall be happy indeed to become again socio straniero of your Academy as I have been in the good times of the past.

A. E.”

Einstein had contacts to the Academy as well as to single members far beyond his nomination as foreign member. His membership in the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei in Rome only ended with his death on April 18, 1955.


Accademia Nazionale dei LinceiA BRIEF OUTLINERome 2010
Editors: Diana Kormos Buchwald,
Ze’ev Rosenkranz, Tilman Sauer,
József Illy, Virginia Iris Holmes
The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, Volume 12Princeton 2009