Thick, Heavy-set Scientific Giant in Play with the Microscopic Atom – Bohr, Niels
Scientist Niels Bohr (1885 to 1962) Danish physicist. Niels Henrik David Bohr, born in Copenhagen in 1885 did pioneering work in the field of atomic theory.
It is said that the Danish are proudest of their shipping industry, dairy products and Niels Bohr.
At the age of 22 Scientist Niels Bohr was awarded the gold medal of the Danish Scientific Society for his original studies on surface tension.
In 1911Scientist Bohr submitted a dissertation on the electron theory of metals and received his Ph.D. He went to Cambridge to study under J.J. Thomson, ‘the father of the electron.’
In 1913 Scientist Niels Bohr published his basic theory on the structure of the atom. There are atoms of copper, or of neon or of uranium or of any element.
A central portion in the atom is the nucleus. Electrons move about in circular paths/orbits, likened to the solar system in which planets move about the sun.
The nucleus is positively charged and made up of neutrons and protons; the electrons are elementary particles of negative charge, travel in “shells” around the nucleus.
The hydrogen nucleus consists of one proton; one electron encircling. The nucleus of helium consists of two neutrons and two protons; two electrons orbiting. Uranium has 92 electrons racing about in seven shells.
When electricity passes through the atom, electrons jump from one orbit to another, light is produced. Emission and absorption of light are characterized by a “quantum jump” between two orbits in the atom.
When electricity flows through neon gas, an orange-red light emanates.
In 1922, the 37 year young Bohr got the Nobel Prize in Physics. At that time he was head of the Copenhagen Institute for Theoretical Physics.He studied “droplet model” of the nucleus in an atom, which considers the nucleus as if it were a water droplet held in position by its surface tension.
In 1943 Germans planned to arrest him during World War II. Niels, son of a Jewish mother, went to Sweden aboard the Sea Star, a small fishing boat.
Scientist Bohr intelligently dissolved his Nobel Prize Gold Medal in a bottle of acid, to recast it later; hence the Nazis could not lay hands on it, in spite of search in the home.
From Sweden Scientist Bohr, Niels went to the United States where he joined in the British American Bomb Project at Los Alamos.
Awestruck by the devastating effects of atomic bomb explosions in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he pleaded for urgent international control, but in vain.
After the war was over, he returned to Copenhagen, was appointed Chairman, Danish Atomic Energy Commission.He was Chairman of the ‘Atoms for Peace’ Conference at Geneva in 1955. He received a $75,000 prize, Ford Atoms for Peace’ Award in 1957.
Death snatched Scientist Bohr, Niels away in 1962.
Aage Niels Bohr, son of Scientist Niels Bohr shared a Nobel Prize in 1975 for discovering the asymmetry of atomic nuclei.
One should be content with his acquired riches,
but should not be content with his acquired knowledge.
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