EDP Sciences 100 years

EDP Sciences has been publishing pioneering science since 1920. As 2020 unfolds, we are delighted to reflect on the past and celebrate our 100th anniversary. Scroll down to browse the history of EDP Sciences, get to know the people behind the organisation and discover how science publishing has evolved along the way…

Setting the scene – what was happening in 1920?

Science and Technology

Albert Einstein
  • Frederick Banting and Charles Best co-discover insulin.
  • Hans Gerhard Creutzfeldt first describes some of the symptoms of what will become known as Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease.
  • Albert Einstein delivers his Leiden Lecture.
  • Ernest Rutherford predicts the existence of the neutron.
  • The New York Times ridicules rocket scientist Robert H. Goddard, stating that spaceflight is impossible.
  • The first transatlantic two-way radio broadcast is made.


Olympic Flag
  • The Summer Olympics take place in Antwerp, Belgium and include figure skating and ice hockey! The Olympic symbol of five interlocking rings and the associated flag are first displayed at the games.
  • The inaugural Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe is won by ‘Comrade’.
  • Philippe Thys (Belgium) wins the 14th Tour de France.
  • Jackson Scholz (USA) equals the world record of 10.6 seconds in 100 metres.


Gloria Swanson
  • ‘Something to Think About’ directed by Cecil B. DeMille; starring Gloria Swanson and Monte Blue is the highest grossing film of the year at the US box office.
  • Jack Cohn, Joe Brandt and Harry Cohn form C. B. C. Film Sales Corporation which would later become Columbia Pictures.
  • Gabriel Fauré retires from the Paris Conservatoire, and is awarded the Grand-Croix of the Légion d'Honneur.
  • First complete public performance of Gustav Holst's suite ‘The Planets’ is given in London by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Albert Coates.

Politics and Society

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
  • The Treaty of Versailles takes effect officially ending World War I.
  • The League of Nations Covenant enters into force and the organization holds its first council meeting in Paris.
  • Mohandas Gandhi launches the non-cooperation movement.
  • The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is passed guaranteeing women’s suffrage.

EDP Sciences

Journal de Physique et Le Radium
  • The new organisation is founded as La Société du Journal de Physique et Le Radium.
  • It is located in Rue de Rennes within the Société Française de Physique.
  • Paul Langevin writes the first editorial “Avertissement” in which he speaks of “l’amour de notre science”.
  • Elsewhere in publishing, Alan A. Griffith's analysis of the process of brittle fracture (metal fatigue) is published as is Karel Čapek's drama “R.U.R: Rossum's Universal Robots” which gave us the word Robot!

Everything else!

Gummy Bear
  • The United States Post Office Department rules that children may not be sent via parcel post.
  • Confectionery company Haribo is founded in Bonn, Germany.
  • The first flight of Dutch air company KLM, from Amsterdam to London, takes place.
  • Over 30,000 people attend the canonization of Joan of Arc in Rome, including 140 descendants of Joan of Arc's family.
  • The 1st World Scout Jamboree is held at Olympia, London.

Looking back in time – a brief history of EDP Sciences, its founders and the early days

Find out more about how it all started with Le Journal de Physique by browsing our unique pictorial history of EDP Sciences… Did you know early shareholders included Albert 1er the Prince of Monaco, Antoine Béclère who created the first radiology laboratory in Paris and Louis Lumière of the Lumière brothers? How many of the pioneering scientists do you recognise?

Anniversary celebrations

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is with regret that we are cancelling the celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of EDP Sciences which were to be held on 4 June 2020 at the Cité internationale universitaire de Paris.

Despite our desire to welcome you to Paris to celebrate this historic milestone, future circumstances remain unclear, particularly for our friends and colleagues abroad. We have therefore taken the difficult decision to cancel the event.
© Antoine Meyssonnier
© Antoine Meyssonnier

“Pour ‘l’amour de notre science’ – one hundred years of publishing excellence”

In 1920, La Société du Journal de Physique et Le Radium was a specialist French publisher serving the needs primarily of La Société Française de Physique. Today, EDP Sciences is an international academic publisher supporting the scientific community at all levels. We have produced an anniversary film giving personal accounts of that journey.

Seminal articles from Nobel Prize Winners

In celebration of our rich, scientific heritage, we are pleased to make the following articles from our archives free to access:

We are also delighted to make Paul Langevin’s first editorial available.

"Nous faisons appel à la bonne volonté de tous pour nous aider à fortifier le lien que la Société Française de Physique voudrait établir ici entre ceux qui ont l’amour de notre science."
Paul Langevin

Souvenir anniversary poster

To celebrate our 100th anniversary, we have commissioned this souvenir poster from Morgane Parisi, Illustrator, Studio Brou. We are making a limited number of copies available through the website on a first-come-first-served basis. The poster features some of our best-known authors and a representation of their work. The poster is A1 in size. If you would like to receive a copy of the poster, please e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Contact us

If you have any questions, comments or queries please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

We would also love to hear from you if you have any memories or experiences you would like to share relating to the history of EDP Sciences.