Niels Bohr


Everything in the world consists of small particles called atoms. The structure of atom is first found by Niels Bohr. Niels Henrik David Bohr was born in Copenhagen on October 7th, 1885. He was born in an upper middle class family to Ellen and Christian. His mother Ellen was the daughter of  a famous Jewish banker. His mother was from a wealthy family. His father Christian was a professor at the University of Copenhagen and he himself was nominated twice for the Nobel prize. Bohr was the second of three children. His elder sister name was Jenny and a younger brother Harald. Jenny became a teacher and Harald was a mathematician and also an  Olympic footballer who played in London Summer Olympics in 1908.

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Bohr started his education at Gammelholm Latin School at the age of Seven. Bohr was enrolled as an undergraduate in 1903 at the University of Copenhagen and he always wanted to pursue Physics. He obtained his Doctorate in 1911 with a dissertiation on the electronic theory of metals. He also studied astronomy and mathematics during his tenure in the University. Actually Harald earned a master’s degree prior to Bohr who earned nine months after Harald.

In 1910, Bohr got engaged to Margrethe Norlund. She is the sister of the mathematician Niels Erik Norlund. He resigned his membership in the Church of Denmark on 16th April 1912. Later they both got married on August 1st 1912.The couple had six sons. The oldest Christian died in aboatin accident in 1934, another child Harald died from childhood meningitis. Aage Bohr was a successful physicist and got the Nobel prize in 1975 in Physics. Hans was a doctor, Erik was a chemical engineer. The last child Ernest, like his Uncle Harald, was an Olympic athelete and played in 1948 Summer Olympics.

Bohr started teaching medical students in July 1913 and his papers became famous as “trilogy” were published in Philosophical Magazine in July, September and November of that year. Bohr started a campaign to establish an Institute of Theoretical Physics in April, 1917 and the legislation was passed in November 1918. This has been started on 3rd March, 1921 with Bohr as its director and later it was named as Niels Bohr Institute. His family moved into an apartment on the first floor.

There was an interesting debate between Bohr and Einstein and we need to know this for sure. There happened one of the most famous scientific meetings and seventeen out of twenty nine were Nobel prizes.  There was a  disagreement between two of the titans of physics:Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein.  The topic of discussion was Is light a particle or a wave? Bohr proposed that they are not actually existing as particles. In the conference, Einstein rose to challenge Bohr’s views. Einstein saw photon as a physical reality  behind the numbers and Bohr did not liked to use mathematical equations to prove science. The shocks for Einstein started when Warner Heisenberg introduced matrix equations and one more shock came when Max Born proposed that mechanics are to be understood as probability without any explanation. Later Einstein interpretation. Einstein wrote a letter to Max Born in 1926: “I, at any rate, am convinced that He [God] does not throw dice”.

Bohr was awarded the Nobel prize in Physics in 1922 for his investigation of the structure of atoms and the radiation emitting from them. He died on 18th November 1962 at his home in Carlsberg due to heart failure.

He was a curious astronomer and his Institute was named as Niels Bohr Institue on 7th October 1965 on the occasion of his 80th birthday.

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