Title of Academician of Science granted to Eva-Mari Aro, Markku Kulmala and Ilkka Niiniluoto

10 Mar 2017

Academy Professor Eva-Mari Aro, Academy Professor Markku Kulmala and Professor Emeritus Ilkka Niiniluoto have been awarded the honorary title of Academician of Science, the highest honour that can be bestowed on any individual scientist in Finland. President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö granted the titles at a presidential session today.

The letters of appointment will be presented to the new Academicians at a ceremony to be held in Helsinki on 16 March.

Based on nominations made by the Academy of Finland, the President of the Republic of Finland may confer the honorary title of Academician of Science to highly distinguished Finnish scientists and scholars. The title can be held by no more than sixteen people at a time.

Academician Eva-Mari Aro – a scientist in the vanguard of plant molecular biology

Academy Professor Eva-Mari Aro (b. 1950) has been Professor of Plant Physiology at the University of Turku since 1998. Aro’s area of specialty is plant molecular biology. She has introduced a whole new area of strength of photosynthesis research into the Finnish scientific landscape. At the same time, her laboratory has grown into one of the world’s premier centres of photosynthesis research.

In recent years, Aro and her team have focused their efforts on studying how photosynthesis can be harnessed to produce compounds beneficial to humankind following the principles of sustainable development. Aro’s research applies methods of synthetic biology to the efficient production of chemicals and energy using photosynthetic organisms, mainly cyanobacteria. Read more

Academician Markku Kulmala – a trailblazer in research into ecosystem–atmosphere interactions

Academy Professor Markku Kulmala (b. 1958) is the world’s leading expert in the physics and chemistry of atmospheric aerosols. He conducts research at the forefront of international efforts to significantly increase our understanding of the mechanisms of climate change, creating new opportunities to reduce the pace of climate change and mitigate its effects. He is widely regarded as one of the founders of a new field of research that explores the interactions between ecosystems and the atmosphere. His integrative approach in particular has significantly reshaped established research environments and structures.

Kulmala and his team investigate the impacts of human activity and natural processes on air quality and the climate. Air quality and climate interactions are varied and highly complex phenomena. Polluted air may change the local and even global climate, and the climate affects air quality in many ways. The research offers significant environmental, social and economic benefits. Read more

Academician Ilkka Niiniluoto – a philosopher of science with a strong voice in research

Professor Emeritus Ilkka Niiniluoto (b. 1946) has had a prestigious career in the Finnish scientific and academic community. As a philosopher, he is the author of a number of works on the nature of science and scientific reasoning. During his extensive career he has also had a forceful and versatile role in society and public debate, actively engaging in university reforms and discussions, for instance. A perfect example of this is his anthology Dynaaminen sivistysyliopisto: sata puhetta ja kirjoitusta vuosilta 1987–2010, which introduces the reader to three decades of Niiniluoto’s speeches and writings on science policy and universities in Finland. Niiniluoto’s unswerving analytical approach, even when it comes to difficult issues, has made him a very esteemed figure in science and research.

As a philosopher of science, Niiniluoto has focused on issues such as the progress of scientific knowledge: If two theories explain the same phenomenon differently, how can we judge which theory is more accurate? This concept of truth approximation, put forward by Niiniluoto in his 1987 book Truthlikeness, is of great importance to the philosophy of science. Niiniluoto has also highlighted the significance of scientific realism in his 1999 book Critical Scientific Realism, another notable and highly cited publication. His publication record includes 200 original journal articles and numerous authored or edited books. Read more

More information

  • Academy Professor Eva-Mari Aro, University of Turku, tel. +358 2 333 5931, evaaro(at)
  • Academy Professor Markku Kulmala, University of Helsinki, tel. +358 40 596 2311, markku.kulmala(at)
  • Professor Emeritus Ilkka Niiniluoto, University of Helsinki, +358 40 503 0885 ilkka.niiniluoto(at)
  • President Heikki Mannila, Academy of Finland, tel. +358 295 335 001, firstname.lastname(at)


Photos of the new Academicians are available (search by name) in the Academy of Finland’s media library at

For more information on Academicians of Science, please see the Academy’s website at

Academy of Finland Communications
Riitta Tirronen, Director of Communications
tel. +358 295 335 118

Last modified 12 Mar 2017
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