Johan Kärnfelt

Assistant Head of Department

Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and
Visiting address
Renströmsgatan 6
41255 Göteborg
Postal address
Box 200
40530 Göteborg

About Johan Kärnfelt

Johan Kärnfelt (b. 1963) is Associate Professor (docent) in History of Ideas and Science and presently working at the Department of Literature, History of Ideas and Religion.

Kärnfelt’s main research interest is the Swedish history of science, in particular it's history of astronomy. His focus has been mainly on the 19th and 20th centuries, and amongst other things he has studies popular science, amatur astronomy, and time standardization. During recent years he has worked on the materialities of science, especially scientific instruments.

Current research activities

Kärnfelt is presently, and together with Gustav Holmberg, finishing a research project on the history of Swedish amateur astronomy (funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond). In parallell he is preparting for a larger project on the observatories of the Royal Swedish Academy of Science.

Teaching and administration

As lecturer in History of Ideas Kärnfelt, is specialized towards the history of science, and has taught on all academic levels. He has also acted as supervisor for several PhD students.

Presently he has department assignments as Deputy head of research, as Coordinator of PhD studies, and as IT coordinator.


Since 2010 Kärnfelt is one of several authors producing the web edition of the Swedish Astronomical Society’s journal Populär astronomi ( He has also been active for many years as a lecturer in astronomy related settings. During 2019 he acted as editor of the Society's centennial blog (