Bengt Hultqvist#


Bengt Hultqvist (BH) was born on August 21, 1927 in Hemmesjö, County of Kronoberg, Sweden. He studied science at the University of Stockholm. After the first academic degree, he was employed by Professor Rolf Sievert at the Institute of Radiophysics in Stockholm. On the basis of the work he did there, he defended his thesis for the degree of doctor of science in April 1956. Professor Sievert, who was the chairman of the committee within the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences that was responsible for the planning and preparations for a new geophysical observatory in Kiruna, suggested in the spring of 1956 that BH should move to Kiruna and take care of the new observatory. He was appointed as director of Kiruna Geophysical Observatory in 1956 and moved to Kiruna with his family in May 1957. The new observatory was inaugurated on July 2, 1957, and he was the director of the observatory and its successors Kiruna Geophysical Institute (from 1973) and the Swedish Institute of Space Physics (from 1987) until he retired in 1994.

Scientifically BH has worked in the fields of radiophysics (in the early years) and in space physics, primarily in magnetospheric physics (space plasma physics; see list of publications).

BH participated in the planning of the European cooperation in space research from 1961 and was among other things chairman of that committee which worked out the first proposal for the European scientific research programme. Thanks to his engagement in the European planning work, he got the opportunity to propose that the European sounding rocket range be placed in Kiruna and the Kiruna observatory could participate in the first European satellite project, ESRO 1, which was launched in 1968. That participation opened the way for the large number of satellite experiments that the Kiruna group has participated and is participating in. He was in different functions member of the European space research cooperation up to the year 2000, during the last years as chairman of the committee that plans the scientific satellite programme.

BH was chairman of the Swedish space research committee (within the Space Panel, later the Space Delegation, and still later the Space Board) during more than two decades, in which period cooperation with the Space Research Institute of the Sovjet Academy of Sciences was initiated. Under his chairmanship of the Swedish Space Research Committee the Swedish national scientific satellite programme was also established, with Viking as the first Swedish satellite.

BH took the initiative in establishing EISCAT, the European scientific incoherent-scatter facility in Northern Scandinavia and on Spitsbergen, which was the most advanced radar facility of its kind and, hitherto, the only international research facility with its seat in Sweden (Kiruna).

After retirement he was director of the new international space research institute ISSI (International Space Science Institute) in Bern, Switzerland, for four years and thereafter secretary general of IAGA (International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy) between 2001 and 2009.

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