Royal Society Publishing

Hannes Olof Gosta Alfven. 30 May 1908–2 April 1995

R. S. Pease


Hannes Olof Gosta Alfven was born in Norrkoping, Sweden, the son of Johannes Alfven (1878–1944) and Anna–Clara Romanus (1874–1947). Both his parents were practising physicians; they settled in the industrial town of Norrkoping because of their interest in social work. Hannes had one sister Anne–Marie (b. 1913), who became a librarian.

His father, who grew up in Stockholm, had a strong interest in science and especially psychiatry. One of his father's many brothers was also a physician, Andrew Alfven; he was politically radical and devoted much of his time to giving evening lectures at worker's institutes. Another uncle, Gosta Alfven, was an agronomist with concern for environmental issues; he also took a private interest in astronomy, keeping a daily journal of luminosity of the stars. A third uncle, Hugo Alfven (1872–1960) was a musician, famous both as a conductor and composer.

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