He studied botany and biology at Lund University and received his Bachelor of Arts at nineteen.
Later he received a Doctor of Philosophy from Lund University. He became a Professor of at Uppsala University in 1909 and at Lund University in 1910. He was one of the first Swedish scientists to write popular science.
He published articles in Malmö-based social democrat newspaper Arbetet.
He was known to be bisexual.
Lidforss was a friend of August Strindberg and was an important name in the early Swedish socialist movement. He was one of the first intellectuals in Sweden to become a socialist.