Founded in 1857, The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters is a non-governmental, nationwide, and interdisciplinary body which embraces all fields of learning. The main purpose of the Academy is the advancement of science and scholarship in Norway. It provides a national forum of communication within and between the various learned disciplines, and it represents Norwegian science vis-á-vis foreign academies and international organizations.
The Academy fulfills these functions by initiating and supporting research projects, by organizing meetings and seminars on topics of current interest, by publishing scientific and scholarly works, and by participating in and nominating representatives to various national and international scientific bodies.
The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters represents Norwegian research internationally in the “International Council for Science” (ICSU), including its many sub-organizations, and in the “Union Académique Internationalé” (UAI), the “European Science Foundation” (ESF), and “ALLEA” (All European Academies).
The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has annually awarded the Abel Prize for outstanding scientific work in mathematics since 2003. The prize amount is NOK 6 million (approx. EUR 730,000 or USD 1 million).
The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has both Norwegian and foreign members, as well as honorary members. The members are divided into two sections; Mathematics and Natural Sciences and Humanities and Social Sciences. The Academy had a total of 877 ordinary members by the end of 2010: 473 Norwegian and 404 foreign members.
HM King Harald is the Honorary President of the Academy. HM Queen Sonja, HRH Crown Prince Haakon, HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit, and Fred Kavli are honorary members of the Academy.