Niels Bohr’s Google Doodle

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Google are celebrating Niels Bohr, on what would have been his 127th birthday, with a Google Doodle . Niels Bohr was a Danish physicist who made foundational contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922.

Niels Henrik David Bohr’s Google Doodle

– Born: October 7, 1885, Copenhagen
– Died: November 18, 1962, Copenhagen
– Education: Trinity College, Cambridge, University of Copenhagen, University of Cambridge
– Awards: Nobel Prize in Physics, Copley Medal, Franklin Medal
-Children: Aage Niels Bohr
-Siblings: Harald Bohr

Physics

In 1903, Niels Henrik David Bohr enrolled at the Copenhagen University, to study philosophy and mathematics. In 1905, He switched from philosophy to physics, when he won the gold medal competition, sponsored by the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, by conducting a series of experiments to examine the properties of surface tension. He received his doctorate in 1911.

While at Manchester University, Bohr had adapted Rutherford’s nuclear structure to Max Planck’s quantum theory and so obtained a model of atomic structure which, with later improvements – mainly as a result of Heisenberg’s concepts – remains valid to this day. Bohr published his model of atomic structure in 1913.

Bohr also conceived the principle of complementarity: that items could be separately analyzed as having several contradictory properties.

For example, physicists currently conclude that light behaves either as a wave or a stream of particles depending on the experimental framework – two apparently mutually exclusive properties – on the basis of this principle. Bohr found philosophical applications for this daring principle. Albert Einstein much preferred the determinism of classical physics over the probabilistic new quantum physics (to which among many others Einstein himself had ‘unwittingly’ contributed). Philosophical issues that arose from the novel aspects of Quantum Mechanics became widely celebrated subjects of discussion. Einstein and Bohr had good-natured arguments over such issues throughout their lives

More: Bohr-Einstein debates

The Manhattan Project

September 1943 – Word had reached Niels Bohr, that the German police was sent to arrest him. With the help of the Danish resistance, he and his wife quickly managed to escape overseas to Sweden, where he was later flown in a military aircraft to Britain. He was there introduced to the top-secret atomic bomb project. He was then directed to the project’s location in the United States.

His role on the project was as the knowledgeable consultant or “father confessor”. He often expressed social concern about such weaponry and an eventual nuclear arms race, and is quoted as saying, “That is why I went to America. They didn’t need my help in making the atom bomb.”

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