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Image: Sebastian,

Prix Schläfli

Plume Grand Duc - Prix Schläfli
Image: Caspar Klein

The Prix Schläfli rewards the best Swiss PhDs in natural sciences. It is one of the oldest prizes in Switzerland. Since the first awarding in 1866, 127 young talents in different natural science disciplines have been distinguished.

The prize has the following aims:

  • Promote young talents (promotion of young scientists and support of academic excellence) in the different natural science disciplines
  • Highlight the importance of young scientists in the Swiss research landscape


Award Ceremonies

Why the Prix Schläfli?

Dr. Alexander Friedrich Schläfli of Burgdorf, Switzerland, who died in 1863 at the age of 35 in Baghdad, bequeathed his entire estate to the Swiss Society of Natural Sciences (SHSN) on the condition "that the Society shall found [...] an annual and perpetual prize on some question of physical science. The choice and the value of this prize will be at the exclusive discretion of the said Society". The SHSN therefore set up a commission that would manage the "Schläfli Fund" which consisted of CHF 9,605.45. From 1866, when the first A.F.Schläfli Prize was awarded, to the present day, more than 100 laureates have benefited from this prize.


Prize-winners Prix Schläfli 2022 (from upper left): Philippe Schwaller, Natasha Tomm, Anna-Katharina Pfitzner, Luca Dal Zilio

Prix Schläfli 2022 award for the four best dissertations in natural sciences

Using language models to facilitate chemical syntheses, improve the understanding of large earthquakes, decipher the fundamentals of cell biological processes, produce single photons for protected data transfers – the Swiss

A fortune for the SSNS

Alexander Friedrich Schläfli from Burgdorf died in 1863 in Bagdad. He left his fortune to the Swiss Society for Natural Sciences (SSNS) on condition that the “Society will award an annual prize to any question in physical science – Physical science always comprised the Physics and Natural Sciences (according to proceedings 1917, page 97). (…) The selection and the amount are at the discretion of the named Society.”