The Archives of Solvay recognised as UNESCO World Heritage


The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has just approved the listing of the Archives of the International Solvay Conferences for Physics and Chemistry in its "Memory of the World" register. This listing is a recognition of the exceptional universal value of these documents for humanity and the importance of preserving them for future generations.

The listing by UNESCO is a joint project by ULB and VUB, presented by the International Solvay Institutes with the support of the Department of libraries and scientific information at ULB (DBIS ULB), the École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles (ESPCI Paris-PSL) and the Université Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL).

Inestimable memory of the world, this collection of archives bears witness to the history of physics and chemistry in the 20th century, as well as the evolution of international scientific research.  It is composed in part of the archives from the International Solvay Institutes for Physics and Chemistry from the period 1910-1962, which are kept by the Archives department of the Université, its legal administrator, and the archives of Paul Langevin (a section dedicated to the Solvay Conferences) which are kept at the École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles (ESPCI Paris-PSL).

Witnesses to the scientific internationalism that emerged in the early 20th century, the Solvay Conferences, privileged meeting places for leading figures in the scientific community, saw the arrival of quantum physics, the birth of the theory of relativity and the emergence of a new chemistry based on exploring the structure of the atom and chemical bonds.

These archives are freely accessible and can be consulted by all on the Solvay Science Project website.