“Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future”. The words are by Niels Bohr, the father of the atom as we know it. A Man of Many Interests I. Niels Bohr, ironically known as ‘the Pope’ among his colleagues, was born in 1885, in Copenhagen, where he lived for most of his life. He created the Institute for Theoretical Physics, now known as the Niels Bohr Institute, where he mentored and collaborated with the best scientists of his time. II. Bohr’s interests ranged from philosophy to soccer.
He was influenced by the work of Soren Kierkegaard and usually played as a goalkeeper. But the family’s football star was his younger brother Harald, who played in the Danish national team and won the silver medal at the 1908 Summer Olympics. III. Niels Bohr had six children. One of them, Aage, was awarded the physics Nobel Prize in 1975. IV. Bohr believed in the importance of sharing knowledge about nuclear research. In 1950 the United Nations, following his suggestions, created the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Bohr and the Atomic Model
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Niels Bohr’s model of the hydrogen atom—first published 100 years ago and commemorated in a special issue of Nature—is simple, elegant, revolutionary, and wrong. Well, “wrong” isn’t exactly accurate—incomplete or preliminary are better terms. The Bohr model was an essential step toward an accurate theory of atomic structure, which required the development of quantum mechanics in the 1920s. Even in its preliminary state, the model is good enough for many calculations in astronomy, chemistry, and other fields, saving the trouble of performing often-complex calculations with the Schrodinger equation.
This conceptual and mathematical simplicity keeps the Bohr model relevant. Despite a century of work, atomic physics is not a quiet field. Researchers continue to probe the structure of atoms, especially in their more extreme and exotic forms, to help understand the nature of electron interactions. They’ve created anti-atoms of antiprotons and positrons to see if they have the same spectra as their matter counterparts or even to see if they fall up instead of down in a gravitational field.
Others have made huge atoms by exciting electrons nearly to the point where they break free, and some have made even more exotic “hollow atoms,” where the inner electrons of atoms are stripped out while the outer electrons are left in place. Celebrations The Niels Bohr Institute and other institutions are planning various events to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Niels Bohr’s atomic model. A complete list can be found:- Oxford University Press will publish a book on the Trilogy in the light of the extensive correspondence between Niels Bohr and his wife, Margrethe Norlund.
A History of Science Conference is organized in June and a meeting on the “Quantum Century” will follow in October. In July, the world most talented high school students will compete for the 2013 International Physics Olympiads, which will be in Copenhagen. 100 years anniversary for Niels Bohr’s Atomic Model Niels Bohr’s model of the atom revolutionized physics when it was published in 1913. The model was the first consistent description of how electrons contributed to constitute matter.
The ingenious idea Niels Bohr used in his model was to quantize the atom – a brave idea as the world was considered classical and not quantized. As a result Niels Bohr’s model of the atom was not generally accepted at first. But eventually leading physicists of the time became convinced of its value. Mainly because it solved two mysteries, namely: why atoms radiated certain colours of light when heated and why the atom consisting of a positive as well as a negative electrical charge did not self-destruct.