Niels Bohr

Niels Bohr and the Origins of Quantum Mechanics

Niels Bohr and the Origins of Quantum Mechanics

On October 7, 1885, Danish physicist and Nobel Laureate Niels Bohr was born. Bohr made foundational contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922. “Physics is to be regarded not so much as the study of something a priori given, but rather as the development of methods of ordering and surveying human experience. In this respect our task must be to account…
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Hans Geiger and the Invention of the Geiger-Müller Counter

Hans Geiger and the Invention of the Geiger-Müller Counter

On September 30, 1882, German physicist Johannes Wilhelm Geiger was born. He is best known as the co-inventor of the Geiger counter and for the Geiger–Marsden experiment which discovered the atomic nucleus. Hans Geiger – Early Years Geiger was born at Neustadt an der Haardt, Germany. He was one of five children born to the Indologist Wilhelm Ludwig Geiger, who was a professor at the University of Erlangen. In 1902, Hans Geiger…
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Theodore Maiman and the Invention of the Laser

Theodore Maiman and the Invention of the Laser

On May 16, 1960, American physicist Theodore Maiman presents the world’s first operating laser at Hughes Research Laboratories, Malibu, California. Today, lasers are present everywhere, ranging from common consumer devices such as DVD players, laser printers, and barcode scanners to professional laser devices for surgery and various other skin treatments, or in industry for cutting and welding materials. Actually, it was Albert Einstein, who has laid the theoretical foundations for the laser in his…
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Linus Pauling – From Quantum Chemistry to Molecular Biology

Linus Pauling – From Quantum Chemistry to Molecular Biology

On February 28, 1901, American chemist, biochemist, peace activist, author, educator Linus Pauling was born. Pauling was one of the founders of the fields of quantum chemistry and molecular biology. His contributions to the theory of the chemical bond include the concept of orbital hybridisation and the first accurate scale of electronegativities of the elements. New Scientist called him one of the 20 greatest scientists of all time, and as of 2000,…
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Ernest Rutherford Discovers the Nucleus

Ernest Rutherford Discovers the Nucleus

On December 20, 1910, New Zealand born physicist Ernest Rutherford made his seminal gold foil experiment which led to first insight about the nature of the inner structure of the atom and to the postulation of Rutherford‘s concept of the “nucleus“, his greatest contribution to physics. Most interestingly, Rutherford made his greatest discovery after receiving the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1908. “When we have found how the nucleus of atoms is…
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Henry Moseley and the Atomic Numbers

Henry Moseley and the Atomic Numbers

On August 10, 1915, English physicist, Henry Moseley was killed in action. Moseley‘s contribution to the science of physics was the justification from physical laws of the previous empirical and chemical concept of the atomic number. This stemmed from his development of Moseley’s law in X-ray spectra. The Periodic Table of Elements For sure you do remember that poster from your classroom with all the chemical elements ordered in the so-called periodic table. But,…
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Aage Niels Bohr and the Understanding of the Nuclear Structure

Aage Niels Bohr and the Understanding of the Nuclear Structure

On June 19, 1922, Danish nuclear physicist and Nobel laureate Aage Niels Bohr was born, son of the famous physicist and Nobel laureate Niels Bohr. Aage Bohr shared the 1975 Nobel Prize for Physics with Ben R. Mottelson and James Rainwater “for the discovery of the connection between collective motion and particle motion in atomic nuclei and the development of the theory of the structure of the atomic nucleus based on this connection.” Aage…
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John Wheeler and the Golden Age of General Relativity

John Wheeler and the Golden Age of General Relativity

Eckehard W. Mielke together with John Archibald Wheeler in 1985 Image: Eckard Mielke On July 9, 1911, American theoretical physicist John Archibald Wheeler was born. Wheeler worked with Niels Bohr in explaining the basic principles behind nuclear fission as well as with Albert Einstein, with whom he tried to achieve Einstein’s vision of a unified field theory. He is also known for popularizing the term black hole, and for coining the terms quantum foam,…
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