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Niels Bohr

Danish Physicist and the leader of the Copenhagen School of the (interpretation of) quanum mechanics, which makes "complementarity" the key word. The complementarity is a difficult concept, but it means something like this: the conservation law and the description in terms of space and time are both necessary in physics, but they become incompatible in quantum physics and they become complementary. Thus two features are complementary if both are indispensable but the two are incompatible in one and the same description.

Aside from his professional contributions to physics such as atomic models (1913), he played an essential role for the development of quantum physics, as the leader of the Niels Bohr Institute (1921-) of the University of Copenhagen. Such great figures as Pauli and Heisenberg produced their works in a free and lively atmosphere of this Institute; and many first-rate physicists all over the world visited there. As regards the defence of quantum mechanics, he had a long controversy with Einstein.

His Institute also played an important role for saving many exile scientists from Germany and other countries. However, Bohr himself was forced to exile himself to the Britain.

During and after the World War II, Bohr was again an important figure in relation to the development of nucler weapons, not in the sense that he contributed to it but in the sense that he proposed important ideas how we should control the nuclear power internationally; he somehow prophesied the role of the scientist in the international affairs, and his influence is manifest in such figures as Oppenheimer.

To Bohr page in the Nobel Foundation

See also Nuclear physics timeline


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Last odified Dec. 1, 2008. (c) Soshichi Uchii