Torsten Magnusson

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Torsten Karl Adolf Magnusson (24 December 1907 – 24 November 1987) was a Swedish physicist and defense research scientists. Magnusson was Director-General of the Swedish National Defence Research Institute (FOA) from 1968 to 1974 and was one of the prominent figures of the Swedish nuclear weapons program.


Magnusson was born in Vreta Kloster parish, Östergötland County, Sweden, the son of station master Carl Magnusson and his wife Signe (née Samuelsson). He received a Bachelor of Arts degree (fil.kand.) from Uppsala University in 1929, Master of Philosophy (fil.mag.) in 1932, Licentiate of Philosophy (fil.lic.) in 1936 and Doctor of Philosophy (fil.dr.) in 1938 with a dissertation on X-ray spectroscopy. Magnusson was first assistant from 1937 to 1940 and associate professor (laborator) from 1940 to 1944 at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences's Research Institute of Physics.[1] He was administrative director from 1941 to 1944 and prefect from 1944 to 1945 at the Military Physics Institute. The institute became the National Defence Research Institute (FOA) in 1945 with Magnusson as head of the department (FOA 2; general physics 1945–58 and FOA 4; nuclear physics and nuclear chemistry 1958–68[2]) from 1945 to 1968.[3] In 1945, Magnusson was given the task by the board of FOA to investigate what was known about the nuclear device that was recently dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was the start of the Swedish nuclear research.[4]

Magnusson became Director-General of FOA in 1968, a position he held until 1974.[5] Magnusson was a member of the Swedish National Committee for Physics (Svenska nationalkommittén för fysik) from 1946 to 1970[5] and a member of the Atom Committee (Atomkommittén) from 1952.[1] He was also a member of the Swedish Atomic Research Council (Statens råd för atomforskning) from 1952 to 1965 and a delegate in atomic energy issues from 1956 to 1974[5] as well as in the Data Processing Delegation (Databehandlingsdelegationen) from 1966.[3] He was a board member of the Defence Materiel Administration from 1968 to 1974, AB Atomenergi from 1969 to 1975 and the National Swedish Nuclear Power Inspection Board (Statens kärnkraftinspektion) from 1974 to 1978. Magnusson became a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences in 1949 and the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences in 1957 and honorary member of the Royal Swedish Society of Naval Sciences in 1971.[5]

Personal life[edit]

In 1933, Magnusson married Wera Ericsson (1908–2003), the daughter of office clerk Erik Ericsson and Emilia Johansson. He was the father of Bo (born 1938), Gunnel (born 1940), Göran (born 1942) and Hans (born 1944).[1] Magnusson died on 24 November 1987 and was buried at Sundbyberg cemetery in Sundbyberg Municipality.[6]

Awards and decorations[edit]


  • Magnusson, Torsten, ed. (1959). Fakta om atomvapen [Facts about nuclear weapons] (in Swedish). Stockholm: Bonnier. LIBRIS 1312405.
  • Blume, Adzer; Magnusson, Torsten (1956). Atomer [Atoms] (in Swedish). Stockholm: Svenska bokförlaget (Bonnier). LIBRIS 1591924.
  • Magnusson, Torsten; Hedvall, J. Arvid (1955). Atom-Bomben,-Staub,-Energie: Zwei Schriften. Autor. deutsche Übers. und Bearb. von Eduard Justi. Mit einem Geleitwort von E.h.E.W.Lotz. [Illustr.] (in German). Aachen. LIBRIS 2892928.
  • Magnusson, Torsten (1952). Manne Siegbahn 1886-: [Rubr.] (in Swedish). Stockholm. LIBRIS 2892927.
  • Magnusson, Torsten (1951). Atombomber och radioaktiva stridsmedel [Atomic bombs and radioactive weapons]. Civilförsvarsstyrelsens småskrifter. Stockholm: [Seelig]. LIBRIS 1442966.
  • Magnusson, Torsten (1948). Edsbygdens mejeriförening: Tio års verksamhet : 1938-1948 [Edsbygden's dairy company: Ten years of operation: 1938-1948] (in Swedish). Mellerud: Hällström. LIBRIS 1418651.
  • Magnusson, Torsten (1938). Investigations into absorption spectra in the extremely soft X-ray region and comparison between different mountings of the plate with concave grating. Nova acta Regiae Societatis Scientiarum Upsaliensis, 0029-5000 ; Ser.4,11:3. Uppsala. LIBRIS 1374319.


  1. ^ a b c d Harnesk, Paul, ed. (1962). Vem är vem? 1, Stor-Stockholm [Who is who? 1, Greater Stockholm] (in Swedish) (2nd ed.). Stockholm: Vem är vem. p. 889. LIBRIS 53509.
  2. ^ Gribbe, Johan, ed. (2007). Att modellera slagfältet: tidig databehandling vid FOA, 1954-66 : transkript av ett vittnesseminarium vid Tekniska museet i Stockholm den 15 oktober 2007 (PDF). Trita-HST, 1103-5277 ; 2007:7 (in Swedish). Stockholm: KTH Teknik- och vetenskapshistoria, KTH. p. 16. ISBN 978-91-7178-847-4. LIBRIS 10862054.
  3. ^ a b Lagerström, Sten, ed. (1968). Vem är det: svensk biografisk handbok. 1969 [Who is it: Swedish biographical handbook. 1969] (in Swedish). Stockholm: Norstedt. p. 640. LIBRIS 3681519.
  4. ^ Jonter, Thomas (2001). Försvarets forskningsanstalt och planerna på svenska kärnvapen [National Defence Research Institute and the plans for Swedish nuclear weapons] (PDF). SKI rapport, 1104-1374 ; 01:5 (in Swedish). Stockholm: Statens kärnkraftinspektion. p. 21. LIBRIS 8239425.
  5. ^ a b c d Vem är det: svensk biografisk handbok. 1985 [Who is it: Swedish biographical handbook. 1985] (in Swedish). Stockholm: Norstedt. 1984. p. 747. ISBN 91-1-843222-0. LIBRIS 3681527.
  6. ^ "TORSTEN CARL ADOLF MAGNUSSON" (in Swedish). Retrieved 26 July 2016.
Government offices
Preceded by
Martin Fehrm
Director-General of the National Defence Research Institute
Succeeded by
Nils-Henrik Lundquist