Aage Bohr

Aravind Bharathi bio photo By Aravind Bharathi Comment

The son of one of the pioneers of quantum mechanics. His childhood involved visits by Werner Heisenberg and Wolfgang Pauli. Aage Bohr was born in Copenhagen a few months before his father, Neils Bohr, won the 1922 Nobel Prize for untangling the mysteries of quantum mechanics.

Emulating the greats

With Ben Roy Mottelson, Aage Bohr explained why the nuclei of atoms aren’t perfectly spherical. The volume of the nucleus is a millionth of a billionth, 10-15 times the size of an atom, and in the early 20th century, the general feeling about nuclear physics was that the nuclei were perfectly symmetric, perfect spheres, platonically perfect spheres. Their experiments showed that this was probably not true. How can it happen that such a small volume cannot be perfectly symmetrical and spherical?

The rotational motion of protons and neutrons inside this extremely small sphere was hypothesised to distort the shape of the nucleus.

This had very important developments in nuclear fusion, which generates ten million times more energy than the standard transformation of mass into energy via electromagnetic forces. Aage Bohr applied the finishing touches to the precursor of nuclear physics. Earlier, nuclear physics was shown not to be a fundamental force of nature but a result of the fundamental force of nature, which we now call quantum chromodynamics. It is remarkable that this field of physics, which was unknown in the 1930s, gave rise to an incredible series of unexpected events.

Bohr’s interests were not limited to problems in physics. A Jewish World War survivor, he was a member of a scientific committee called “Science for Peace” , which played an important role in the confrontation of The Cold War and along with his father, was a member of The Manhattan Project.

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