Bohr (1885-1962) was born in Copenhagen, Denmark on the 7 of
October 1885. He went on to make a number of contributions to the understanding of atomic
structure and quantum mechanics. In 1922 he won the Nobel Prize for physics, for his
contribution on the structure of atoms. After receiving his doctorate in physics from the
University of Copenhagen in 1911, he travelled to Cambridge in England to study under
Ernest Rutherford a British physicist.
Bohr published a theory in 1913 on the structure of the atom
based on one of Ernest Rutherford's theories. Rutherford had shown that an atom consisted
of a nucleus, which was positively charged, and electrons, negatively charged, orbiting
around it. Bohr expanded on Rutherford's theory by saying that the electrons travel only
in successively larger orbits. He said that the outer orbits determined the chemical
properties of the atom and that these orbits could hold more electrons than the inner
orbits. He also described that when an electron jumps from an outer orbit to an inner one
it emits radiation in the form of light. Other physicists later expanded this theory into
Later in 1916 Bohr became a professor of physics at
the University of Copenhagen. In 1920 Niels Bohr was named director of the new Institute
of Theoretical Physics at the University of Copenhagen. During World War II Bohr had to
flee Copenhagen to escape the Nazis. He travelled on an overcrowded boat with his family
to Los Alamos in Mexico to advise the scientists who were developing the first atomic
bomb. After the war he returned to Copenhagen and promoted peaceful use of atomic energy.
During the 1950's he helped found CERN the European Centre for Nuclear Research in
Switzerland. In 1957 he was awarded the first "Atoms for Peace" Prize.