Niels Bohr

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Niels Bohr

Niels Bohr

Niels Bohr was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1885. He earned a doctorate in physics from the University of Copenhagen in 1911. He met Ernest Rutherford in 1912 while working for J.J. Thompson. Under Rutherford, he started studying atoms. In 1913, Bohr made important discoveries pertaining to atomic theory (described below). He died in 1962.


The Solution

In Rutherford's model of the atom, the placement of the electrons was problematic. They couldn't stay still because then they would attract and become part of the nucleus. They couldn't spin around the nucleus either. Then they would eventually lose energy.

To solve this problem, Bohr combined Rutherford's description of the nucleus and Max Planck's early quantum theory. Bohr discovered that electrons travel in orbits around the nucleus and that the number of electrons in orbit determines the properties of an element. In Bohr's model , electrons could travel without losing energy.

Bohr's work earned in the Nobel Prize in physics in 1922. Element 107, Bohrium (Bh) was names for him. He became president of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences. The Institute for Theoretical Physics was renamed Niels Bohr Institute in his honor.

The Problem


Contributions to Atomic Theory


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