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The Solvay Conferences (French: Conseils Solvay) have been devoted to outstanding preeminent open problems in both physics and chemistry. They began with the historic invitation-only 1911 Solvay Conference on Physics, considered a turning point in the world of physics, and continue to the present day.[1]

Photograph of the first conference in 1911 at the Hotel Metropole. Seated (L–R): W. Nernst, M. Brillouin, E. Solvay, H. Lorentz, E. Warburg, J. Perrin, W. Wien, M. Curie, and H. Poincaré. Standing (L–R): R. Goldschmidt, M. Planck, H. Rubens, A. Sommerfeld, F. Lindemann, M. de Broglie, M. Knudsen, F. Hasenöhrl, G. Hostelet, E. Herzen, J. H. Jeans, E. Rutherford, H. Kamerlingh Onnes, A. Einstein and P. Langevin.

Following the initial success of 1911, they have since been organised by the International Solvay Institutes for Physics and Chemistry, founded by the Belgian industrialist Ernest Solvay in 1912 and 1913, and located in Brussels. The institutes coordinate conferences, workshops, seminars, and colloquia. Recent Solvay Conferences usually go through a three year cycle: the Solvay Conference on Physics, followed by a gap year, followed by the Solvay Conference on Chemistry.[1]

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