NORDITA was founded in 1957 as the Nordic Institute for Theoretical Atomic Physics on the premises of the Niels Bohr Institute at Copenhagen University. Over the years, the scope of Nordita activities has widened to include new and emerging areas while maintaining a strong focus on excellent research in basic theoretical physics. Today, researchers at Nordita are engaged in theoretical and computational research over a broad range of physical sciences including astrophysics, biological physics, condensed matter and materials physics, cosmology, gravitational theory, high-energy physics, nuclear physics, and statistical physics and complex systems.
Until 2006, Nordita was financed by and organized directly under the Nordic Council of Ministers (abbreviated NMR for Nordisk Ministerråd). Following a decision to transfer all research institutes, including Nordita, from under the NMR and place them under Nordic host universities, it was decided in 2006 that Nordita would be relocated to Stockholm, where it is jointly hosted by Stockholm University (SU) and the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH). The move from Copenhagen to the AlbaNova University Centre, a joint venture of SU and KTH situated in the immediate vicinity of the two universities, took place on January 1, 2007. Nordita continues to have a presence in Copenhagen as some of the senior academic staff chose to remain at the Niels Bohr Institute and continue their research there.
The build-up of Nordita in Stockholm is almost completed. The scientific staff in Stockholm will include three positions as permanent professors, five positions as assistant professors (five-year fixed-term positions), and the director (50% research and 50% administrative duties). In addition there is a fellowship program for Nordic and international postdocs. The institute's activities include Nordita Scientific Programs, an extensive visitor program for scientists from all over the world and symposia and summer schools arranged by Nordita alone or in cooporation with other institutes.
NORDITA is governed by a board consisting of one member and one alternate from each Nordic country and a board chairman nominated by NOS-N, the joint committee of the nordic natural science research councils. The board appoints a number of scientific committees which evaluate applications for Nordita Fellowships and advises the board on scientific and educational matters.
NORDITA 50 år - article by Christofer Cronström published in 2008 in Reflexer, the journal of Fysikersamfundet i Finland.
The on-line biography of Professor James Hamilton, who was a Nordita Professor of Theoretical Particle Physics from 1964 to 1986, includes chapters on his years at Nordita in Copenhagen.