Honorary doctors

Peter Auer

Peter Auer (born 1954) has served as professor of Germanic philology at the University of Freiburg since 1998. Auer is an exceptionally versatile linguist, among the most distinguished in the world. In research focused on multilingualism, he is a pioneer of the field. His research topics include code-switching, the temporality of spoken language, the contextualisation of language, style and grammaticalisation. Peter Auer has headed several international research projects and edited a number of important anthologies related to his research topics. Auer has conducted close cooperation with the University of Helsinki both in research and as an academic expert, for example, as a project leader in a collaborative project between the Academy of Finland and the German Academic Exchange Service DAAD, as well as serving as a member of the University’s scientific councils for years. Through his research activities, Auer has promoted research on language and interaction conducted in Finland, as well as established important contacts with international top-level researchers.


Mieke Bal

In her theoretically and methodologically groundbreaking works, Mieke Bal has combined approaches from different disciplines in a creative manner, transforming the study of images and narratives. She has been an influence in the establishment of narratology and the study of visual culture. Bal is one of the developers of close reading, and she has introduced approaches familiar from semiotics and feminism to art history. Bal has published more than 30 monographs, many of them having reached the status of a classic.  She is also a distinguished curator, filmmaker and visual artist. In her multivoiced films and installations based on nonlinear narratives, Bal has explored migration, insanity and motherhood in various cultures. Her latest film, Reasonable Doubt, is a double portrait of René Descartes and Christina, Queen of Sweden. Her impact on cultural studies in the humanities cannot be overstated.



Rudolf Bauer

Rudolf Bauer (born 1956) is a professor at the University of Graz, Austria. He has also served as the director of the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Department of Pharmacognosy. Bauer has studied the chemical analysis of natural compounds, as well as their pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic characteristics. His particular focus has been on factors related to the quality control and standardisation of plant-based drugs and pharmaceutical products. Bauer has also developed quality criteria for pharmaceutical agents, aids and products used in Chinese medicine. In his research, Bauer has extensively investigated the development of a drug based on plant metabolomics. He has been an important liaison and promoter in the establishment of international research and teaching contacts at the University of Helsinki.


Benő Csapó

Benő Csapó is professor of education at the University of Szeged and a recipient of Prima Primissima, Hungary’s most distinguished award. He is an internationally acknowledged versatile top-level researcher, a respected teacher and a significant social influencer. Csapó heads the Doctoral School of Education, the Research Group on the Development of Competencies at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Center for Research on Learning and Instruction, established by Csapó himself. He has played a key role in guiding the Hungarian field of education to integrate with the modern international scholarly community.

Csapó has greatly promoted the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, through a number of expert and elected positions. He and his research community have conducted productive long-term research collaboration with researchers of the Faculty. Csapó’s contribution to the modern theory and measurement of cognitive skills is of the highest order. A system for measuring learning outcomes developed by Csapó’s group is the most extensive and versatile of its kind in the world. These digital assessment tools are also used in our extensive monitoring studies.


Bruce Dickinson

Bruce Dickinson is lead singer with Iron Maiden, one of the most internationally successful rock bands of all time with worldwide album sales in excess of 90million. Bruce is also a qualified airline captain and runs an aviation maintenance company in Cardiff, a career he pursues in parallel to fronting Iron Maiden. Among his many and varied interests, Bruce is an award-winning beer brewer, motivational speaker, twice-published novelist and best-selling author, radio presenter, film scriptwriter and International fencer. In 2011, Dickinson was presented with an honorary music doctorate from his alma mater Queen Mary University of London, in honour of his contribution to the music industry. In October 2017 his autobiography What Does This Button Do? was released, featuring on the New York Times Bestseller list, and topping the UK’s Sunday Times bestseller list.

He will receive the honorary doctor degree absent.


Bengt Holmström

Professor Bengt Holmström (born 1948) graduated from the University of Helsinki in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science degree (equivalent to today’s master’s degree). From 1994 onwards, Holmström has worked as a professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Professor Holmström is an honorary member of the Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters and the Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences in Finland, as well as an external member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters. Among his many awards, the Nobel Prize in economic sciences awarded in 2016 stands out.

Holmström’s pioneering research can be considered a prime example of econometrics, or the application of mathematical models to economic matters. His research has particularly focused on the analysis of incentives and moral hazard with asymmetric information.

During his career, Holmström has maintained contact with the University of Helsinki in the form of numerous visits. In 1999 he served as a visiting professor and in 2009 he was appointed an honorary alumnus of the University of Helsinki.


Anders Lindroth

Professor Emeritus Anders Lindroth (born 1948) from Lund University is an exceptionally versatile and multidisciplinary scholar of micrometeorology and biogeochemical cycles. His research topics include carbon, water and nitrogen cycles, biosphere-atmosphere interactions and energy exchange processes, topics of considerable currency, for example, in terms of the climate effects of forest use. Lindroth was one of the laureates of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 awarded for the work done by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He served as director of ICOS (Integrated Carbon Observation System) Sweden until 2016 and has played an important part in the launching of ICOS operations in Finland. Lindroth regularly visits Finland, working as a member of the organisation committee of several conferences and scientific workshops held in Finland, as well as teaching on field courses and in summer schools.


Minna Pyykkö

Minna Pyykkö is a Finnish nature journalist and painter who has in her diverse radio programmes disseminated biological knowledge among Finns in an exceptionally accessible and interesting form. She has not shied away from obscure subjects, and she has conducted close cooperation with scholars of the University of Helsinki and other academic researchers. Pyykkö has a weekly programme on the Radio Suomi channel, Minna Pyykön maailma (‘The World of Minna Pyykkö’) with Finnish naturalists and nature lovers, as well as artists interested in nature subjects as visitors. Minna Pyykkö has created nature programmes for the Finnish public service broadcasting company YLE since the 1990s. In addition to radio work, she has presented and scripted several Finnish nature programmes for television, organised and performed at various events promoting nature conservation, held nature-themed art exhibitions, as well as written, translated and illustrated nature-themed books. Through her long-term work, Pyykkö has increased Finns’ nature knowledge by a considerable degree.


Vaclav Smil

Vaclav Smil was born in Plzen in 1943, left Czechoslovakia for the USA in 1969 and has worked in Canada since 1972. He is an interdisciplinary scientist, exploring new ground in the fields of energy, environmental and population change, technical innovation, food production and nutrition, risk assessment, and public policy. As of 2019 he has published 42 books on these, and other, topics, as well as nearly 500 papers and essays in more than 100 periodicals.  He is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Manitoba.  He was the first non-American to receive the American Association for the Advancement of Science Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (Science Academy), he was named by Foreign Policy as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers, in 2013 he was appointed to the Order of Canada, and in 2015 he received the OPEC Award for Research in recognition of his independent writings on energy. He is also Bill Gates’ favorite author.