quantum mechanics

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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Max Planck and the Quantum Theory

Max Planck and the Quantum Theory

On April 23, 1858, German theoretical physicist Max Planck was born, who originated quantum theory, which won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918. “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.” – Max Planck, Interview in ‘The Observer’ (25 January 1931), p.17, column 3 Childhood in Munich Max Karl…
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John A. Pople and Computational Methods in Quantum Chemistry

John A. Pople and Computational Methods in Quantum Chemistry

On October 31, 1925, British theoretical chemist and Nobel laureate Sir John Anthony Pople was born. Pople was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Walter Kohn in 1998 for his work on computational methodology to study the quantum mechanics of molecules, their properties and how they act together in chemical reactions. “Sometimes one can improve the theories in the sense of discovering a quicker, more efficient way of doing a given…
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Norman Ramsey and the Oscillatory Field Method

Norman Ramsey and the Oscillatory Field Method

On August 27, 1915, American physicist and Nobel Laureate Norman Foster Ramsey Jr. was born. Ramsey was awarded the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physics, for the invention of the separated oscillatory field method, which had important applications in the construction of atomic clocks. “You have to get a little untrapped from too much prior knowledge.” — Norman Foster Ramsey, Jr., explaining what’s the best way of thinking, in an oral history conducted…
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Stephen Hawking and the Hairy Black Holes

Stephen Hawking and the Hairy Black Holes

When I read the news that Stephen Hawking passed away, I was rather sad. I grew up with a fascination for astronomy and cosmology. Trying to understand the fabrics and working of the universe, I devoured his popular books and articles and I am rather thankful. Amongst others it was foremost this unique physicist, who planted the seed for my decision to become a scientist myself. However, I abandoned physics after high…
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Satyendra Nath Bose and the Einstein-Bose Statistics

Satyendra Nath Bose and the Einstein-Bose Statistics

Satyendra Nath Bose (1894-1974) On January 1, 1898, Bengali Indian physicist Satyendra Nath Bose was born. Specialising in mathematical physics, Bose is best known for his work on quantum mechanics in the early 1920s, providing the foundation for Bose–Einstein statistics and the theory of the Bose–Einstein condensate. The class of particles that obey Bose–Einstein statistics, bosons, was named after Bose by Paul Dirac. Education Bose was born in Calcutta (now Kolkata), the…
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Max Born and the statistical interpretation of the Wave Function

Max Born and the statistical interpretation of the Wave Function

On December 11, 1882, German physicist, mathematician, and Nobel Laureate Max Born was born, who was instrumental in the development of quantum mechanics. He also made contributions to solid-state physics and optics and supervised the work of a number of notable physicists in the 1920s and 1930s. “Can we call something with which the concepts of position and motion cannot be associated in the usual way, a thing, or a particle? And if…
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Erwin Schrödinger and his Famous Thought Experiment

Erwin Schrödinger and his Famous Thought Experiment

On August 12, 1887, Austrian physicist and Nobel Laureate Erwin Schrödinger was born. Schrödinger developed a number of fundamental results in the field of quantum theory, which formed the basis of wave mechanics: he formulated the wave equation and revealed the identity of his development of the formalism and matrix mechanics. Schrödinger proposed an original interpretation of the physical meaning of the wave function. Although many of you are not physicists, you…
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Ilya Prigogine and the Irreversibility of Time

Ilya Prigogine and the Irreversibility of Time

On January 25, 1917, Belgian physical chemist and Nobel Laureate Ilya Prygogine was born. He is noted for his work on dissipative structures, complex systems, and irreversibility. The main theme of Prigogine‘s work was the search for a better understanding of the role of time in the physical sciences and in biology. He attempted to reconcile a tendency in nature for disorder to increase with so-called “self-organisation“. Youth and Education Prigogine was born…
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Hermann Weyl – between Pure Mathematics and Theoretical Physics

Hermann Weyl – between Pure Mathematics and Theoretical Physics

On November 9, 1885, German mathematician, theoretical physicist and philosopher Hermann Weyl was born. Weyl was one of the most influential mathematicians of the 20th century. His widely varied contributions in mathematics linked pure mathematics and theoretical physics. He made significant contributions to quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity. He attempted to incorporate electromagnetism into the geometric formalism of general relativity. Hermann Weyl was born in Elmshorn near Hamburg, Germany and already…
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