History and student life at KI

Files to download

Karolinska Institutet literature list from Libris (pdf)
Karolinska Institutets History: The first 6 years
Anatomin i Stockholm (A short history of the Department of Anatomy) pdf file
PC Jersild – KI som författarskola
Om kvinnliga medicine studerande vid Karolinska Institutet i slutet av 1800-talet
The Hagströmer Medico-Historical Library


A picture documentary about the 1923 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

The history behind the 1923 Nobel Prize “For the discovery of insulin” offers both interesting information and learning. Wthout doubt the discovery of insulin was of such stature that it deserved a Nobel Prize. The time between the discovery and the award in 1923 i.e. by now 100 years ago, is as far as can be judged the prize where the time between the discovery itself and the announcement of the Nobel Prize is the shortest.

The discovery was made in the summer of 1921, the first patient was treated in January 1922, and the first publications written by those awarded the prize appeared in the same year. The prize is not only the fastest awarded prize in the Nobel context, but also one of the most debated. The discussion has always revolved around who should rightfully have shared the credit for this very significant discovery.

The attached documentary describes, seen from today’s perspective, the problems that were associated with this Nobel Prize. In a first section, the development of knowledge about diabetes up to the beginning of the 1920s is summarized, after which the evaluation of the Nobel activities at the Karolinska Institutet is scrutinized. In conclusion, the gaze was fixed on recent advances which were based on the discovery of insulin and which were of great importance for the treatment of diabetes.


A History of Karolinska University Hospital “Vetenskap och Vård”
A new publication from 2021 about KS and the clinical research and discoveries made over the 50 years since it became a national hospital

More information about the book Vetenskap och Vård (pdf file)


We were all PhD students…12 personal stories
By Katarina Bjelke, Ewa Björling, Jonas Frisén, Jan-Åke Gustafsson, Johan Harmenberg, Jan M. Lundberg, Mikael Svensson, Britta Wahren, Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson, Sarah Wamala, Barbro Westerholm, and Hans Wigzell
We were all PhD students…12 personal stories


Student life in our hearts, an essay by the medical student group “Botgörarorden”
Studentlivet i våra hjärtan (student life in our hearts, an essay by the medical student group “Botgörarorden”)


The history of the state owned bacteriology laboratory and the Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control (SMI)
Ragnar Norrby reccounts the history of the state owned bacteriology laboratory and the Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control (SMI) (in Swedish)
Statens bakteriologiska Laboratorium, Smittskyddsinstitutet och samarbetet med Karolinska Institutet


Einar Hammarsten and early nucleic acid research at KI (in Swedish)
Arne Engström describes Einar Hammarsten’s career at KI, initially as student in the 1920’s, and later as a nucleic acid researcher
Den tidiga nukleinsyreforskningen vid KI


How do you do Life Science?
Hans G Boman traces the development of Life Sciences from the 1960’s onwards
How do you do Life Science?


Major changes in the KI organisation 1990-96
After the KI 90 report in 1990, major changes were proposed for Karolinska Institutet. Erling Norrby (Centrum för Vetenskapshistoria, Kungl. Vetenskapsakad) recounts the implementation of these changes during the 1990’s. This article is in Swedish.
Kraftfulla förändringar av Karolinska Institutets organisation 1990-96 (Major changes in the KI organisation 1990-96) pdf file


Micro essays from KI Students

Svensson Julia student microessay 20200223

Mesesan Andreea student microessay WiKiKi 20200323



The Drug Museum at KI
The start of KI Campus in Solna