International Solvay Institutes

The International Solvay Institutes owe their existence to the vision of Ernest Solvay, who founded the International Institute for Physics in 1912 and the International Institute for Chemistry in 1913.

In 1970 the Solvay family in association with the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), founded an independent body, the International Institutes for Physics and Chemistry, founded by Ernest Solvay, to continue that important quest for the advancement of scientific knowledge.

Over the years, the International Solvay Institutes have become a symbol of scientific excellence, and one of the best known Belgian research institutions, consistently supported by the Solvay family (for more than 100 years now, spanning 5 generations).

There are no limits to what science can explore

Ernest Solvay

Ernest Solvay

To find such example of prudent and princely endowment based on sympathy and personal assistance by donors, one has to go back to the 15th Century, at the time where the Medicis family made Florence the most intellectual of cities in the world, not only through the power of money but also through the active collaboration of the genius of its members. The creation of these Institutes will appear more and more like one of the most important events of the history of the development of Science.

Sir William Pope

Chair of the International Scientific Committee for Chemistry 1922-1939

The ultimate objective of the Solvay Institutes remains close to Ernest Solvay’s own vision: to be instrumental in making major advances in science, from the largest end of the spectrum, such as the Universe or the Big Bang, to the smallest one, such as the subatomic world and the most fundamental constituents of matter.

Jacques Solvay, President of the Institutes 1958-2010

What is our ambition? To help kindle the flame of curiosity that feeds on such fascinating subjects as dark matter, quantum gravity, cosmology, new findings coming from CERN, high-temperature superconductivity, turbulence, the structure of water, the chemical origins of life... To continue to provide the most challenging and creative meetings for the brightest minds focused on the most pertinent questions of our time.

Jean-Marie Solvay, President of the Institutes 2010-present