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Astrid M. Cleve von Euler (January 22, 1875 - April 8, 1968) was a Swedish botanist, geologist, chemist and researcher at Uppsala University. She was the first female in Sweden to obtain a doctoral degree of science.



Astrid Cleve was born into academic life. She was daughter of the chemist and professor Per Teodor Cleve and Alma Öhbom. She received her education at home and entered Uppsala University in 1891 to study natural history. She obtained her doctoral degree on May 27, 1898 at Uppsala University on a thesis entitled Studies on the time of germination and the juvenile stage of some Swedish plants. She was the third Swedish woman to do so, and the first in a scientific discipline. From 1898 to 1904, she was employed at the Chemical Institution at Stockholms högskola (later Stockholm University), which at that time was a private institution that could hire women, in contrast to the state universities in Uppsala and Lund. There she met the German- Swedish biochemist and later Nobel laureate Hans von Euler-Chelpin. They married in 1902 and she took the name Astrid Cleve von Euler. She worked as her husband's assistant (they published together on organic chemistry) and raised five children, one of them being the later physiologist and Nobel laureate Ulf von Euler. The marriage was broken in 1912. From 1911 to 1917, Astrid Cleve acted as a teacher in Stockholm and from 1917-1923 she was head of a mining laboratory. She then moved to the countryside, managed a farm and educated private students. In the 1930s, she returned to Uppsala University and the Institution of Quaternary Geology. In 1955 she was appointed a titular professor by the Swedish government.

As a scientist, she worked on diverse topics of biology, quaternary geology and chemistry. She became a world-leading expert on diatoms and published her magnum opus on them - Die Diatomeen von Schweden und Finnland in five volumes. This monumental work contains information on systematics and ecology of diatoms of brackish and freshwater, both extant and fossil. Another important research topic was post-glacial sea level changes and land uplift. Her – now refuted – theory was strongly criticized by contemporary geologists, e.g. Lennart von Post. Her publications of empirical investigations were gradually met with obstacles in standard vehicles of scholarly communication, so she let many papers print at her own risk.


  • Florin, Maj-Britt (1968) Astrid Cleve von Euler. 22 January - 8 April 1968. Svensk Botanisk Tidskrift 62(4): 549-564.
  • Espmark, Kristina (2005) Vetenskapskvinna utanför ramarna: Astrid Cleve von Euler och viljan att forska. Stella Arbetsrapporter (Uppsala) ISSN 1650-2272 vol. 28. 87 pp.

Selected scientific works

  • On recent freshwater diatoms from Lule Lappmark in Sweden (1895)
  • Studier öfver några svenska växters groningstid och förstärkningsstadium (1898) Dissertation
  • Bidrag till kännedomen om ytterbium (1901)
  • Cyclotella bodanica i Anclussjön: Skattmansöprofilen ännu en gång (1911)
  • Försök till analys av Nordens senkvartära nivåförändringar (1923), Geologiska Föreningens i Stockholm Förhandlingar
  • The diatoms of Finnish Lapland (1934)
  • Sundets plankton: sammansättning och fördelning (1937)
  • Bacillariaceen-assoziationen im nördlichsten Finnland (1939)
  • Natur und Alter der Strandflächen Finnlands: Eine spätquartäre Rekonstruktion (1943)
  • Die diatomeen von Schweden und Finnland I-V (1951-1955)
  • Was war der Svea älv? (1957)

External links



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