Max Born was a
GermanGermany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...
-born
physicistA physicist is a scientist who studies or practices physics. Physicists study a wide range of physical phenomena in many branches of physics spanning all length scales: from sub-atomic particles of which all ordinary matter is made to the behavior of the material Universe as a whole...
and
mathematicianA mathematician is a person whose primary area of study is the field of mathematics. Mathematicians are concerned with quantity, structure, space, and change....
who was instrumental in the development of
quantum mechanicsQuantum mechanics, also known as quantum physics or quantum theory, is a branch of physics providing a mathematical description of much of the dual particle-like and wave-like behavior and interactions of energy and matter. It departs from classical mechanics primarily at the atomic and subatomic...
. He also made contributions to
solid-state physicsSolid-state physics is the study of rigid matter, or solids, through methods such as quantum mechanics, crystallography, electromagnetism, and metallurgy. It is the largest branch of condensed matter physics. Solid-state physics studies how the large-scale properties of solid materials result from...
and
opticsOptics is the branch of physics which involves the behavior and properties of light, including its interactions with matter and the construction of instruments that use or detect it. Optics usually describes the behavior of visible, ultraviolet, and infrared light...
and supervised the work of a number of notable physicists in the 1920s and 30s. Born won the 1954
Nobel Prize in PhysicsThe Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded once a year by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895 and awarded since 1901; the others are the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Nobel Prize in Literature, Nobel Peace Prize, and...
(shared with
Walther BotheWalther Wilhelm Georg Bothe was a German nuclear physicist, who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1954 with Max Born....
).
Early life and education
Max was born on December 11, 1882 in Breslau (now Wrocław,
PolandPoland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...
), which at Born's birth was in the
PrussianThe Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom from 1701 to 1918. Until the defeat of Germany in World War I, it comprised almost two-thirds of the area of the German Empire...
Province of SilesiaThe Province of Silesia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1815 to 1919.-Geography:The territory comprised the bulk of the former Bohemian crown land of Silesia and the County of Kladsko, which King Frederick the Great had conquered from the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy in the 18th...
in the
German EmpireThe German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...
. He was one of two children born to
Gustav BornGustav Jacob Born was a German histologist and medical author, and father of Max Born. His wife Gretchen Kauffmann gave birth to Max and a daughter Käthe , but she died on 29 August 1886. Gustav married a second time with Bertha Lipstein, she gave birth to another son, Wolfgang Gustav Jacob...
, (b. 22 April 1850,
KempenKempen may refer to:*Kempen, Germany, a town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany;*the German name of the Polish town of Kępno, or the former Prussian district Kreis Kempen;*the Dutch and Belgian region of Kempen, usually called Campine in English...
, d. 6 July 1900, Breslau), an anatomist and embryologist, and Margarethe ('Gretchen') Kauffmann (b. 22 January 1856,
TannhausenTannhausen is a municipality in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, in Ostalbkreis district.Tannhausen is located approx. east of Ellwangen at the edge of the Nördlinger Ries in Swabian Wuerttemberg close to the border of the franconian part of Bavaria, where the administrative districts of...
, d. 29 August 1886, Breslau), from a Silesian family of industrialists.
Gustav and Gretchen married on 7 May 1881. She died when Max was just four years old, on 29 August 1886.
Max had a sister Käthe (b. 5 March 1884), and a half-brother Wolfgang (b. 21 October 1892) from his father's second marriage (m. 13 September 1891) with Bertha Lipstein.
Initially educated at the König-Wilhelm-
GymnasiumA gymnasium is a type of school providing secondary education in some parts of Europe, comparable to English grammar schools or sixth form colleges and U.S. college preparatory high schools. The word γυμνάσιον was used in Ancient Greece, meaning a locality for both physical and intellectual...
, Born went on to study at the University of Breslau followed by Heidelberg University and the
University of ZurichThe University of Zurich , located in the city of Zurich, is the largest university in Switzerland, with over 25,000 students. It was founded in 1833 from the existing colleges of theology, law, medicine and a new faculty of philosophy....
. During study for his Ph.D. and
HabilitationHabilitation is the highest academic qualification a scholar can achieve by his or her own pursuit in several European and Asian countries. Earned after obtaining a research doctorate, such as a PhD, habilitation requires the candidate to write a professorial thesis based on independent...
at the University of Göttingen, he came into contact with many prominent scientists and mathematicians including
KleinChristian Felix Klein was a German mathematician, known for his work in group theory, function theory, non-Euclidean geometry, and on the connections between geometry and group theory...
,
HilbertDavid Hilbert was a German mathematician. He is recognized as one of the most influential and universal mathematicians of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Hilbert discovered and developed a broad range of fundamental ideas in many areas, including invariant theory and the axiomatization of...
,
MinkowskiHermann Minkowski was a German mathematician of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, who created and developed the geometry of numbers and who used geometrical methods to solve difficult problems in number theory, mathematical physics, and the theory of relativity.- Life and work :Hermann Minkowski was born...
,
RungeCarl David Tolmé Runge was a German mathematician, physicist, and spectroscopist.He was co-developer and co-eponym of the Runge–Kutta method , in the field of what is today known as numerical analysis.-Biography:...
,
SchwarzschildKarl Schwarzschild was a German physicist. He is also the father of astrophysicist Martin Schwarzschild.He is best known for providing the first exact solution to the Einstein field equations of general relativity, for the limited case of a single spherical non-rotating mass, which he accomplished...
, and
VoigtWoldemar Voigt was a German physicist, who taught at the Georg August University of Göttingen. Voigt eventually went on to head the Mathematical Physics Department at Göttingen and was succeeded in 1914 by Peter Debye, who took charge of the theoretical department of the Physical Institute...
. In 1908-1909 he studied at
Gonville and Caius College, CambridgeGonville and Caius College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England. The college is often referred to simply as "Caius" , after its second founder, John Keys, who fashionably latinised the spelling of his name after studying in Italy.- Outline :Gonville and...
.
When Born arrived in Göttingen in 1904, Klein, Hilbert, and Minkowski were the high priests of mathematics and were known as the “mandarins.” Very quickly after his arrival, Born formed close ties to the latter two men. From the first class he took with Hilbert, Hilbert identified Born as having exceptional abilities and selected him as the lecture scribe, whose function was to write up the class notes for the students’ mathematics reading room at the University of Göttingen. Being class scribe put Born into regular, invaluable contact with Hilbert, during which time Hilbert’s intellectual largesse benefited Born’s fertile mind. Hilbert became Born’s mentor and Hilbert eventually selected him to be the first to hold the unpaid, semi-official position of Hilbert’s assistant. Born’s introduction to Minkowski came through Born’s stepmother, Bertha, as she knew Minkowski from dancing classes in
KönigsbergKönigsberg was the capital of East Prussia from the Late Middle Ages until 1945 as well as the northernmost and easternmost German city with 286,666 inhabitants . Due to the multicultural society in and around the city, there are several local names for it...
. The introduction netted Born invitations to the Minkowski household for Sunday dinners. In addition, while performing his duties as scribe and assistant, Born often saw Minkowski at Hilbert’s house. Born’s outstanding work on elasticity - a subject near and dear to Klein - became the core of his
magna cum laude Ph.D. thesis, in spite of some of Born’s irrationalities in dealing with Klein.
Born married Hedwig, née Ehrenberg, on 2 August 1913. She was of Jewish descent on her father's side, and was a practicing Lutheran; Born converted from
JudaismJudaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...
to the Lutheran faith in 1914. The marriage produced three children, including
G. V. R. BornGustav Victor Rudolf Born is Emeritus Professor of Pharmacology at King's College London and Research Professor at the William Harvey Research Institute, St. Bartholomew's Hospital Medical College....
. His daughter Irene was the mother of
BritishThe United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...
-born Australian singer and actress
Olivia Newton-JohnOlivia Newton-John AO, OBE is a singer and actress. She is a four-time Grammy award winner who has amassed five No. 1 and ten other Top Ten Billboard Hot 100 singles and two No. 1 Billboard 200 solo albums. Eleven of her singles and 14 of her albums have been certified gold by the RIAA...
. Via marriage, he is related to jurists
Victor EhrenbergVictor Gabriel Ehrenberg was a German jurist.He is the uncle of historian Victor Ehrenberg, Geoffrey & Lewis Elton's great uncle and great-great uncle to Ben Elton....
(his father-in-law) and
Rudolf von JheringRudolf von Jhering was a German jurist. He is known for his 1872 book Der Kampf ums Recht , as a legal scholar, and as the founder of a modern sociological and historical school of law.Jhering was born in Aurich, Kingdom of Hanover...
(his wife's maternal grandfather), as well as
Hans EhrenbergHans Philipp Ehrenberg was a German theologian. One of the co-founders of the Confessing Church, he was forced to emigrate to England because of his Jewish ancestry and his opposition to National Socialism....
, and is a great uncle of British alternative comedian
Ben EltonBenjamin Charles "Ben" Elton is an English comedian, author, playwright and director. He was a leading figure in the British alternative comedy movement of the 1980s, as a writer on such cult series as The Young Ones and Blackadder, as well as also a successful stand-up comedian on stage and TV....
.
Career
After Max’s
HabilitationHabilitation is the highest academic qualification a scholar can achieve by his or her own pursuit in several European and Asian countries. Earned after obtaining a research doctorate, such as a PhD, habilitation requires the candidate to write a professorial thesis based on independent...
in 1909, he settled in as a young academic at Göttingen as a Privatdozent (Associate Professor). In Göttingen, Born stayed at a
boarding houseA boarding house, is a house in which lodgers rent one or more rooms for one or more nights, and sometimes for extended periods of weeks, months and years. The common parts of the house are maintained, and some services, such as laundry and cleaning, may be supplied. They normally provide "bed...
run by Sister Annie at Dahlmannstraße 17, known as El BoKaReBo The name was derived from the first letters of the last names of its boarders: “El” for Ella Philipson (a medical student), “Bo” for Born and Hans Bolza (a physics student), “Ka” for
Theodore von KármánTheodore von Kármán was a Hungarian-American mathematician, aerospace engineer and physicist who was active primarily in the fields of aeronautics and astronautics. He is responsible for many key advances in aerodynamics, notably his work on supersonic and hypersonic airflow characterization...
(a Privatdozent), and “Re” for Albrecht Renner (a medical student). A frequent visitor to the boarding house was
Paul Peter EwaldPaul Peter Ewald was a German-born U.S. crystallographer and physicist, a pioneer of X-ray diffraction methods.-Education:...
, a doctoral student of
Arnold SommerfeldArnold Johannes Wilhelm Sommerfeld was a German theoretical physicist who pioneered developments in atomic and quantum physics, and also educated and groomed a large number of students for the new era of theoretical physics...
on loan to
David HilbertDavid Hilbert was a German mathematician. He is recognized as one of the most influential and universal mathematicians of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Hilbert discovered and developed a broad range of fundamental ideas in many areas, including invariant theory and the axiomatization of...
at Göttingen as a special assistant for physics.
Richard CourantRichard Courant was a German American mathematician.- Life :Courant was born in Lublinitz in the German Empire's Prussian Province of Silesia. During his youth, his parents had to move quite often, to Glatz, Breslau, and in 1905 to Berlin. He stayed in Breslau and entered the university there...
, a mathematician and Privatdozent, called these people the “in group.”
From 1915 to 1919, except for a period in the
German armyThe German Army was the name given the combined land forces of the German Empire, also known as the National Army , Imperial Army or Imperial German Army. The term "Deutsches Heer" is also used for the modern German Army, the land component of the German Bundeswehr...
, Born was extraordinarius professor of
theoretical physicsTheoretical physics is a branch of physics which employs mathematical models and abstractions of physics to rationalize, explain and predict natural phenomena...
at the
University of BerlinThe Humboldt University of Berlin is Berlin's oldest university, founded in 1810 as the University of Berlin by the liberal Prussian educational reformer and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt, whose university model has strongly influenced other European and Western universities...
, where he formed a life-long friendship with
Albert EinsteinAlbert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...
. In 1919, he became ordinarius professor on the science faculty at the University of Frankfurt am Main. While there, the University of Göttingen was looking for a replacement for
Peter DebyePeter Joseph William Debye FRS was a Dutch physicist and physical chemist, and Nobel laureate in Chemistry.-Early life:...
, and the Philosophy Faculty had Born at the top of their list. In negotiating for the position with the education ministry, Born arranged for another chair at Göttingen and for his long-time friend and colleague
James FranckJames Franck was a German Jewish physicist and Nobel laureate.-Biography:Franck was born to Jacob Franck and Rebecca Nachum Drucker. Franck completed his Ph.D...
to fill it. In 1921, Born became ordinarius professor of theoretical physics and Director of the new Institute of Theoretical Physics at Göttingen. While there, he formulated the now-standard interpretation of the
probability density functionIn quantum mechanics, a probability amplitude is a complex number whose modulus squared represents a probability or probability density.For example, if the probability amplitude of a quantum state is \alpha, the probability of measuring that state is |\alpha|^2...
for ψ*ψ in the
Schrödinger equationThe Schrödinger equation was formulated in 1926 by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger. Used in physics , it is an equation that describes how the quantum state of a physical system changes in time....
of
quantum mechanicsQuantum mechanics, also known as quantum physics or quantum theory, is a branch of physics providing a mathematical description of much of the dual particle-like and wave-like behavior and interactions of energy and matter. It departs from classical mechanics primarily at the atomic and subatomic...
, published in July 1926 and for which he was awarded the
Nobel Prize in PhysicsThe Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded once a year by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895 and awarded since 1901; the others are the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Nobel Prize in Literature, Nobel Peace Prize, and...
in 1954, some three decades later.
For the 12 years Born and Franck were at Göttingen (1921–1933), Born had a collaborator with shared views on basic scientific concepts — a distinct advantage for teaching and his research on the developing quantum theory. The approach of close collaboration between theoretical physicists and experimental physicists was also shared by Born at Göttingen and
Arnold SommerfeldArnold Johannes Wilhelm Sommerfeld was a German theoretical physicist who pioneered developments in atomic and quantum physics, and also educated and groomed a large number of students for the new era of theoretical physics...
at the University of Munich, who was ordinarius professor of theoretical physics and Director of the Institute of Theoretical Physics — also a prime mover in the development of
quantum theoryQuantum field theory provides a theoretical framework for constructing quantum mechanical models of systems classically parametrized by an infinite number of dynamical degrees of freedom, that is, fields and many-body systems. It is the natural and quantitative language of particle physics and...
. Born and Sommerfeld not only shared their approach in using experimental physics to test and advance their theories, Sommerfeld, in 1922 when he was in the United States lecturing at the
University of Wisconsin–MadisonThe University of Wisconsin–Madison is a public research university located in Madison, Wisconsin, United States. Founded in 1848, UW–Madison is the flagship campus of the University of Wisconsin System. It became a land-grant institution in 1866...
, sent his student
Werner HeisenbergWerner Karl Heisenberg was a German theoretical physicist who made foundational contributions to quantum mechanics and is best known for asserting the uncertainty principle of quantum theory...
to be Born’s assistant. Heisenberg again returned to Göttingen in 1923 and completed his
HabilitationHabilitation is the highest academic qualification a scholar can achieve by his or her own pursuit in several European and Asian countries. Earned after obtaining a research doctorate, such as a PhD, habilitation requires the candidate to write a professorial thesis based on independent...
under Born in 1924 and became a
PrivatdozentPrivatdozent or Private lecturer is a title conferred in some European university systems, especially in German-speaking countries, for someone who pursues an academic career and holds all formal qualifications to become a tenured university professor...
at Göttingen - the year before Heisenberg and Born published their first papers on
matrix mechanicsMatrix mechanics is a formulation of quantum mechanics created by Werner Heisenberg, Max Born, and Pascual Jordan in 1925.Matrix mechanics was the first conceptually autonomous and logically consistent formulation of quantum mechanics. It extended the Bohr Model by describing how the quantum jumps...
.
In 1925, Born and
Werner HeisenbergWerner Karl Heisenberg was a German theoretical physicist who made foundational contributions to quantum mechanics and is best known for asserting the uncertainty principle of quantum theory...
formulated the matrix mechanics representation of quantum mechanics. On 9 July, Heisenberg gave Born a paper to review and submit for publication. In the paper, Heisenberg formulated quantum theory avoiding the concrete but unobservable representations of electron orbits by using parameters such as transition probabilities for quantum jumps, which necessitated using two indexes corresponding to the initial and final states. When Born read the paper, he recognized the formulation as one which could be transcribed and extended to the systematic language of matrices, which he had learned from his study under Jakob Rosanes at Breslau University. Born, with the help of his assistant and former student
Pascual Jordan
, began immediately to make the transcription and extension, and they submitted their results for publication; the paper was received for publication just 60 days after Heisenberg’s paper. A follow-on paper was submitted for publication before the end of the year by all three authors. (A brief review of Born’s role in the development of the
matrix mechanicsMatrix mechanics is a formulation of quantum mechanics created by Werner Heisenberg, Max Born, and Pascual Jordan in 1925.Matrix mechanics was the first conceptually autonomous and logically consistent formulation of quantum mechanics. It extended the Bohr Model by describing how the quantum jumps...
formulation of quantum mechanics along with a discussion of the key formula involving the non-commutativity of the
probability amplitudeIn quantum mechanics, a probability amplitude is a complex number whose modulus squared represents a probability or probability density.For example, if the probability amplitude of a quantum state is \alpha, the probability of measuring that state is |\alpha|^2...
s can be found in an article by Jeremy Bernstein. A detailed historical and technical account can be found in Mehra and Rechenberg’s book
The Historical Development of Quantum Theory. Volume 3. The Formulation of Matrix Mechanics and Its Modifications 1925–1926.)
Up until this time, matrices were seldom used by physicists; they were considered to belong to the realm of
pure mathematicsBroadly speaking, pure mathematics is mathematics which studies entirely abstract concepts. From the eighteenth century onwards, this was a recognized category of mathematical activity, sometimes characterized as speculative mathematics, and at variance with the trend towards meeting the needs of...
.
Gustav MieGustav Adolf Feodor Wilhelm Ludwig Mie was a German physicist.-Biography:Mie was born in Rostock. From 1886 he studied mathematics and physics at the University of Rostock. In addition to his major subjects, he also attended lectures in chemistry, zoology, geology, mineralogy, astronomy as well as...
had used them in a paper on electrodynamics in 1912 and Born had used them in his work on the lattices theory of crystals in 1921. While matrices were used in these cases, the algebra of matrices with their multiplication did not enter the picture as they did in the matrix formulation of quantum mechanics.
Born, however, had learned
matrix algebraMatrix algebra may refer to:*Matrix theory, is the branch of mathematics that studies matrices*Matrix ring, thought of as an algebra over a field or a commutative ring...
from Rosanes, as already noted, but Born had also learned Hilbert’s theory of
integral equationIn mathematics, an integral equation is an equation in which an unknown function appears under an integral sign. There is a close connection between differential and integral equations, and some problems may be formulated either way...
s and
quadratic formIn mathematics, a quadratic form is a homogeneous polynomial of degree two in a number of variables. For example,4x^2 + 2xy - 3y^2\,\!is a quadratic form in the variables x and y....
s for an infinite number of variables as was apparent from a citation by Born of Hilbert’s work
Grundzüge einer allgemeinen Theorie der Linearen Integralgleichungen published in 1912. Jordan, too was well equipped for the task. For a number of years, he had been an assistant to
Richard CourantRichard Courant was a German American mathematician.- Life :Courant was born in Lublinitz in the German Empire's Prussian Province of Silesia. During his youth, his parents had to move quite often, to Glatz, Breslau, and in 1905 to Berlin. He stayed in Breslau and entered the university there...
at Göttingen in the preparation of Courant and
David Hilbert’sDavid Hilbert was a German mathematician. He is recognized as one of the most influential and universal mathematicians of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Hilbert discovered and developed a broad range of fundamental ideas in many areas, including invariant theory and the axiomatization of...
book
Methoden der mathematischen Physik I, which was published in 1924. This book, fortuitously, contained a great many of the mathematical tools necessary for the continued development of quantum mechanics. In 1926,
John von NeumannJohn von Neumann was a Hungarian-American mathematician and polymath who made major contributions to a vast number of fields, including set theory, functional analysis, quantum mechanics, ergodic theory, geometry, fluid dynamics, economics and game theory, computer science, numerical analysis,...
became assistant to
David HilbertDavid Hilbert was a German mathematician. He is recognized as one of the most influential and universal mathematicians of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Hilbert discovered and developed a broad range of fundamental ideas in many areas, including invariant theory and the axiomatization of...
, and he would
coin the term Hilbert spaceThe mathematical concept of a Hilbert space, named after David Hilbert, generalizes the notion of Euclidean space. It extends the methods of vector algebra and calculus from the two-dimensional Euclidean plane and three-dimensional space to spaces with any finite or infinite number of dimensions...
to describe the algebra and analysis which were used in the development of quantum mechanics.
In 1928,
Albert EinsteinAlbert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...
nominated Heisenberg, Born, and Jordan for the
Nobel Prize in PhysicsThe Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded once a year by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895 and awarded since 1901; the others are the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Nobel Prize in Literature, Nobel Peace Prize, and...
, but it was not to be. The announcement of the Nobel Prize in Physics for 1932 was delayed until November 1933. It was at that time that it was announced Heisenberg had won the Prize for 1932 “for the creation of quantum mechanics, the application of which has led to the discovery of the allotropic forms of hydrogen” and
Erwin SchrödingerErwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger was an Austrian physicist and theoretical biologist who was one of the fathers of quantum mechanics, and is famed for a number of important contributions to physics, especially the Schrödinger equation, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1933...
and
Paul Adrien Maurice DiracPaul Adrien Maurice Dirac, OM, FRS was an English theoretical physicist who made fundamental contributions to the early development of both quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics...
shared the 1933 Prize "for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory". One can rightly ask why Born was not awarded the Prize in 1932 along with Heisenberg – Bernstein gives some speculations on this matter. One of them is related to Jordan joining the Nazi Party on 1 May 1933 and becoming a
Storm TrooperThe Sturmabteilung functioned as a paramilitary organization of the National Socialist German Workers' Party . It played a key role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s...
. Hence, Jordan’s Party affiliations and Jordan’s links to Born may have affected Born’s chance at the Prize at that time. Bernstein also notes that when Born won the Prize in 1954, Jordan was still alive, and the Prize was awarded for the statistical interpretation of quantum mechanics, attributable alone to Born.
Heisenberg’s reaction to Born for Heisenberg himself receiving the Prize for 1932 and Born receiving the Prize in 1954 is also instructive in evaluating whether Born should have shared the Prize with Heisenberg. On 25 November 1933 Born received a letter from Heisenberg in which he said he had been delayed in writing due to a “bad conscience” that he alone had received the Prize “for work done in Göttingen in collaboration — you, Jordan and I.” Heisenberg went on to say that Born and Jordan’s contribution to quantum mechanics cannot be changed by “a wrong decision from the outside.” In 1954, Heisenberg wrote an article honoring
Max PlanckMax Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck, ForMemRS, was a German physicist who actualized the quantum physics, initiating a revolution in natural science and philosophy. He is regarded as the founder of the quantum theory, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918.-Life and career:Planck came...
for his insight in 1900. In the article, Heisenberg credited Born and Jordan for the final mathematical formulation of matrix mechanics and Heisenberg went on to stress how great their contributions were to quantum mechanics, which were not “adequately acknowledged in the public eye.”
Those who received their Ph.D. degrees under Born at Göttingen included
Max DelbrückMax Ludwig Henning Delbrück was a German-American biophysicist and Nobel laureate.-Biography:Delbrück was born in Berlin, German Empire...
, Walter Elsasser,
Friedrich HundFriedrich Hermann Hund was a German physicist from Karlsruhe known for his work on atoms and molecules.Hund worked at the Universities of Rostock, Leipzig, Jena, Frankfurt am Main, and Göttingen....
,
Pascual Jordan
, Maria Goeppert-Mayer,
Lothar Wolfgang NordheimLothar Wolfgang Nordheim was a German-born Jewish theoretical physicist...
, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Victor Weisskopf. Born’s assistants at the University of Göttingen’s Institute for Theoretical Physics included
Enrico FermiEnrico Fermi was an Italian-born, naturalized American physicist particularly known for his work on the development of the first nuclear reactor, Chicago Pile-1, and for his contributions to the development of quantum theory, nuclear and particle physics, and statistical mechanics...
,
Werner HeisenbergWerner Karl Heisenberg was a German theoretical physicist who made foundational contributions to quantum mechanics and is best known for asserting the uncertainty principle of quantum theory...
,
Gerhard HerzbergGerhard Heinrich Friedrich Otto Julius Herzberg, was a pioneering physicist and physical chemist, who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1971, "for his contributions to the knowledge of electronic structure and geometry of molecules, particularly free radicals". Herzberg's main work concerned...
,
Friedrich HundFriedrich Hermann Hund was a German physicist from Karlsruhe known for his work on atoms and molecules.Hund worked at the Universities of Rostock, Leipzig, Jena, Frankfurt am Main, and Göttingen....
,
Pascual Jordan
,
Wolfgang PauliWolfgang Ernst Pauli was an Austrian theoretical physicist and one of the pioneers of quantum physics. In 1945, after being nominated by Albert Einstein, he received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his "decisive contribution through his discovery of a new law of Nature, the exclusion principle or...
,
Léon RosenfeldLéon Rosenfeld was a Belgian physicist. He obtained a PhD at the University of Liège in 1926, and he was a collaborator of the physicist Niels Bohr. He did early work in quantum electrodynamics that predates by two decades the work by Dirac and Bergmann. He coined the name lepton...
,
Edward TellerEdward Teller was a Hungarian-American theoretical physicist, known colloquially as "the father of the hydrogen bomb," even though he did not care for the title. Teller made numerous contributions to nuclear and molecular physics, spectroscopy , and surface physics...
, and Eugene Wigner.
Walter HeitlerWalter Heinrich Heitler was a German physicist who made contributions to quantum electrodynamics and quantum field theory...
became an assistant to Born in 1928 and under Born completed his
HabilitationHabilitation is the highest academic qualification a scholar can achieve by his or her own pursuit in several European and Asian countries. Earned after obtaining a research doctorate, such as a PhD, habilitation requires the candidate to write a professorial thesis based on independent...
in 1929. Born not only recognized talent to work with him, but he let his “superstars stretch past him.” His Ph.D. student Delbrück, and six of his assistants (Fermi, Heisenberg, Goeppert-Mayer, Herzberg, Pauli, Wigner) went on to win
Nobel PrizeThe Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...
s.
In a letter to Born in 1926, Einstein made his famous remark regarding quantum mechanics, often paraphrased as "The Old One does not play dice."
In 1933 Born emigrated from Germany. He had strong and public pacifist opinions; moreover, though Born was a Lutheran, he was classified as a "Jew" by the
Nazi racial lawsThe Nuremberg Laws of 1935 were antisemitic laws in Nazi Germany introduced at the annual Nuremberg Rally of the Nazi Party. After the takeover of power in 1933 by Hitler, Nazism became an official ideology incorporating scientific racism and antisemitism...
due to his ancestry, and was thus stripped of his professorship. He took up a position as Stokes Lecturer at the
University of CambridgeThe University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...
. From 1936 to 1953 he was Tait Professor of
Natural PhilosophyNatural philosophy or the philosophy of nature , is a term applied to the study of nature and the physical universe that was dominant before the development of modern science...
at the University of Edinburgh, where he promoted the teaching of
mathematical physicsMathematical physics refers to development of mathematical methods for application to problems in physics. The Journal of Mathematical Physics defines this area as: "the application of mathematics to problems in physics and the development of mathematical methods suitable for such applications and...
. He became a
British subjectIn British nationality law, the term British subject has at different times had different meanings. The current definition of the term British subject is contained in the British Nationality Act 1981.- Prior to 1949 :...
and a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1939.
Born had a dislike for
nuclear weaponA nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...
s research, but he still acknowledged “it might be the only way out.” Much of the theoretical power behind the development of the first atomic bomb was due to many of those surrounding him at Göttingen and working on
atomic physicsAtomic physics is the field of physics that studies atoms as an isolated system of electrons and an atomic nucleus. It is primarily concerned with the arrangement of electrons around the nucleus and...
and quantum mechanics: three of his Ph.D. students (Maria Goeppert-Mayer, Oppenheimer and Weisskopf), three of his assistants (Fermi, Teller, and Wigner), the Director of the Second Institute for Experimental Physics (James Franck), and
David Hilbert’sDavid Hilbert was a German mathematician. He is recognized as one of the most influential and universal mathematicians of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Hilbert discovered and developed a broad range of fundamental ideas in many areas, including invariant theory and the axiomatization of...
assistant (
John von NeumannJohn von Neumann was a Hungarian-American mathematician and polymath who made major contributions to a vast number of fields, including set theory, functional analysis, quantum mechanics, ergodic theory, geometry, fluid dynamics, economics and game theory, computer science, numerical analysis,...
).
Max and Hedwig Born retired to
Bad Pyrmont-External links:* * -Multimedia:*...
(10 km south of
HamelinHamelin is a town on the river Weser in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is the capital of the district of Hamelin-Pyrmont and has a population of 58,696 ....
) in
West GermanyWest Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....
, in 1954.
Born was one of the 11 signatories to the
Russell-Einstein ManifestoThe Russell–Einstein Manifesto was issued in London on July 9, 1955 by Bertrand Russell in the midst of the Cold War. It highlighted the dangers posed by nuclear weapons and called for world leaders to seek peaceful resolutions to international conflict...
.
Born is also the great-grandfather of the TV editor and percussionist Kip Thompson-Born.
Born died in
GöttingenGöttingen is a university town in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is the capital of the district of Göttingen. The Leine river runs through the town. In 2006 the population was 129,686.-General information:...
, Germany. He is buried there in the same cemetery as
Walther NernstWalther Hermann Nernst FRS was a German physical chemist and physicist who is known for his theories behind the calculation of chemical affinity as embodied in the third law of thermodynamics, for which he won the 1920 Nobel Prize in chemistry...
,
Wilhelm WeberWilhelm Eduard Weber was a German physicist and, together with Carl Friedrich Gauss, inventor of the first electromagnetic telegraph.-Early years:...
,
Max von LaueMax Theodor Felix von Laue was a German physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1914 for his discovery of the diffraction of X-rays by crystals...
,
Max PlanckMax Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck, ForMemRS, was a German physicist who actualized the quantum physics, initiating a revolution in natural science and philosophy. He is regarded as the founder of the quantum theory, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918.-Life and career:Planck came...
, and
David HilbertDavid Hilbert was a German mathematician. He is recognized as one of the most influential and universal mathematicians of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Hilbert discovered and developed a broad range of fundamental ideas in many areas, including invariant theory and the axiomatization of...
.
Max Born Prize
In memory of his important contributions, the
Max Born prizeThe Max Born Prize is a scientific prize awarded yearly by the German Physical Society and the British Institute of Physics in memory of the German physicist Max Born. The terms of the award are that it is "to be presented for outstanding contributions to physics"...
was created by the
German Physical Society and the British
Institute of PhysicsThe Institute of Physics is a scientific charity devoted to increasing the practice, understanding and application of physics. It has a worldwide membership of around 40,000....
. It is awarded annually.
Published works
During his life, Born wrote several semi-popular and technical books. His volumes on topics like
atomic physicsAtomic physics is the field of physics that studies atoms as an isolated system of electrons and an atomic nucleus. It is primarily concerned with the arrangement of electrons around the nucleus and...
and
opticsOptics is the branch of physics which involves the behavior and properties of light, including its interactions with matter and the construction of instruments that use or detect it. Optics usually describes the behavior of visible, ultraviolet, and infrared light...
were very well-received and are considered classics in their fields which are still in print. The following is a listing of his major works:
- Über das Thomson'sche Atommodell Habilitations-Vortrag
Habilitation is the highest academic qualification a scholar can achieve by his or her own pursuit in several European and Asian countries. Earned after obtaining a research doctorate, such as a PhD, habilitation requires the candidate to write a professorial thesis based on independent...
(FAM, 1909) - The Habilitation was done at the University of Göttingen, on 23 October 1909.
- Dynamik der Kristallgitter (Teubner, 1915) - After its publication, the physicist Arnold Sommerfeld
Arnold Johannes Wilhelm Sommerfeld was a German theoretical physicist who pioneered developments in atomic and quantum physics, and also educated and groomed a large number of students for the new era of theoretical physics...
asked Born to write an article based on it for the 5th volume of the Mathematical Encyclopedia. World War IWorld War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...
delayed the start of work on this article, but it was taken up in 1919 and finished in 1922. It was published as a revised edition under the title Atomic Theory of Solid States.
- Dynamical Theory of Crystal Lattices
Dynamical Theory of Crystal Lattices is a book in structure theory of crystal lattices, written collaboratively by Max Born and Kun Huang. It is considered to be a classical treatise on the subject. It has been reedited many times, the first edition being 1954....
, with Kun Huang. (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1954)
- Die Relativitätstheorie Einsteins und ihre physikalischen Grundlagen (Springer, 1920) - Based on Born’s lectures at the University of Frankfurt am Main
The Goethe University Frankfurt was founded in 1914 as a Citizens' University, which means that, while it was a State university of Prussia, it had been founded and financed by the wealthy and active liberal citizenry of Frankfurt am Main, a unique feature in German university history...
.
- Available in English under the title Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.
- Vorlesungen über Atommechanik (Springer, 1925)
- Mechanics of the Atom (George Bell & Sons
George Bell & Sons was a book publishing house located in London, United Kingdom, from 1839 to 1986. It was founded by George Bell as an educational bookseller, with the intention of selling the output of London university presses; but became best known as an independent publisher of classics and...
, 1927) - Translated by J. W. Fisher and revised by D. R. HartreeDouglas Rayner Hartree PhD, FRS was an English mathematician and physicist most famous for the development of numerical analysis and its application to the Hartree-Fock equations of atomic physics and the construction of the meccano differential analyser.-Early life:Douglas Hartree was born in...
.
- Problems of Atomic Dynamics (MIT Press
The MIT Press is a university press affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts .-History:...
, 1926) – A first account of matrix mechanics being developed in Germany, based on two series of lectures given at MIT, over three months, in late 1925 and early 1926.
- Elementare Quantenmechanik (Zweiter Band der Vorlesungen über Atommechanik), with Pascual Jordan
. (Springer, 1930) - This was the first volume of what was intended as a two-volume work. This volume was limited to the work Born did with Jordan on matrix mechanicsMatrix mechanics is a formulation of quantum mechanics created by Werner Heisenberg, Max Born, and Pascual Jordan in 1925.Matrix mechanics was the first conceptually autonomous and logically consistent formulation of quantum mechanics. It extended the Bohr Model by describing how the quantum jumps...
. The second volume was to deal with Erwin Schrödinger’sErwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger was an Austrian physicist and theoretical biologist who was one of the fathers of quantum mechanics, and is famed for a number of important contributions to physics, especially the Schrödinger equation, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1933...
wave mechanics. However, the second volume was not even started by Born, as he believed his friend and colleague Hermann WeylHermann Klaus Hugo Weyl was a German mathematician and theoretical physicist. Although much of his working life was spent in Zürich, Switzerland and then Princeton, he is associated with the University of Göttingen tradition of mathematics, represented by David Hilbert and Hermann Minkowski.His...
had written it before he could do so.
- Optik: Ein Lehrbuch der elektromagnetische Lichttheorie (Springer, 1933) - The book was released just as the Borns were emigrating to England.
- Principles of Optics: Electromagnetic Theory of Propagation, Interference and Diffraction of Light, with Emil Wolf. (Pergamon
Pergamon Press was an Oxford-based publishing house, founded by Paul Rosbaud and Robert Maxwell, which published scientific and medical books and journals. It is now an imprint of Elsevier....
, 1959) - This book is not an English translation of Optik, but rather a substantially new book. Shortly after World War II, a number of scientists suggested that Born update and translate his work into English. Since there had been many advances in optics in the intervening years, updating was warranted. In 1951, Emil WolfEmil Wolf is a Czech born American physicist who made advancements in physical optics, including diffraction, coherence properties of optical fields, spectroscopy of partially coherent radiation, and the theory of direct scattering and inverse scattering. He is also the author of several works on...
began as Born’s private assistant on the book; it was eventually published in 1959 by Robert Maxwell'sIan Robert Maxwell MC was a Czechoslovakian-born British media proprietor and former Member of Parliament , who rose from poverty to build an extensive publishing empire...
Pergamon Press - the delay being due to the lengthy time needed “to resolve all the financial and publishing tricks created by Maxwell.”
- Moderne Physik (1933) -- Based on seven lectures given at the Technischen Hochschule Berlin.
- Atomic Physics (Blackie
Blackie and Son Limited was a publishing house in Glasgow, Scotland and in London, England, from 1890 to 1991.The firm was founded in 1809 by John Blackie, snr. as a partnership with two others and was originally known as 'Blackie, Fullerton and Company'. It began printing in 1819 and was renamed...
, London, 1935) - Authorized translation of Moderne Physik by John Dougall, with updates.
- The Restless Universe (Blackie and Son Limited
Blackie and Son Limited was a publishing house in Glasgow, Scotland and in London, England, from 1890 to 1991.The firm was founded in 1809 by John Blackie, snr. as a partnership with two others and was originally known as 'Blackie, Fullerton and Company'. It began printing in 1819 and was renamed...
, 1935) - A popularized rendition of the workshop of nature. Born’s nephew, Otto KönigsbergerOtto H. Königsberger was a German architect who worked mainly in urban development planning in Africa, Asia and Latin America.-Early life:...
, whose successful career as an architect in Berlin was brought to an end when the Nazis took over, was temporarily brought to England to illustrate the book.
- Experiment and Theory in Physics (Cambridge University Press
Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by Henry VIII in 1534, it is the world's oldest publishing house, and the second largest university press in the world...
, 1943) – The address given King’s College, Newcastle-on-TyneNewcastle upon Tyne is a city and metropolitan borough of Tyne and Wear, in North East England. Historically a part of Northumberland, it is situated on the north bank of the River Tyne...
, at the request of the Durham Philosophical Society and the Pure Science Society. An expanded version of the lecture appeared in a 1956 Dover Publications edition.
- Natural Philosophy of Cause and Chance (Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...
, 1949) – Based on Born’s 1948 Waynflete lectures, given at the College of St. Mary Magdalen, Oxford UniversityThe University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...
. A later edition (Dover, 1964) included two appendices: “Symbol and Reality” and Born’s lecture given at the Nobel laureates 1964 meeting in Landau, Germany.
- A General Kinetic Theory of Liquids with H. S. Green (Cambridge University Press
Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by Henry VIII in 1534, it is the world's oldest publishing house, and the second largest university press in the world...
, 1949) -- The six papers in this book were reproduced with permission from the Proceedings of the Royal SocietyProceedings of the Royal Society is the parent title of two scientific journals published by the Royal Society, whereas its initial journal, Philosophical Transactions, is now devoted to special thematic issues...
.
- Physics in My Generation: A Selection of Papers (Pergamon
Pergamon Press was an Oxford-based publishing house, founded by Paul Rosbaud and Robert Maxwell, which published scientific and medical books and journals. It is now an imprint of Elsevier....
, 1956)
- Physik im Wandel meiner Zeit (Vieweg, 1957)
- Physik und Politik (VandenHoeck und Ruprecht, 1960)
- Zur Begründung der Matrizenmechanik, with Werner Heisenberg
Werner Karl Heisenberg was a German theoretical physicist who made foundational contributions to quantum mechanics and is best known for asserting the uncertainty principle of quantum theory...
and Pascual Jordan
(Battenberg, 1962) - Published in honor of Max Born’s 80th birthday. This edition reprinted the authors’ articles on matrix mechanicsMatrix mechanics is a formulation of quantum mechanics created by Werner Heisenberg, Max Born, and Pascual Jordan in 1925.Matrix mechanics was the first conceptually autonomous and logically consistent formulation of quantum mechanics. It extended the Bohr Model by describing how the quantum jumps...
published in Zeitscrift für Physik , Volumes 26 and 33-35, 1924-1926.
- My Life and My Views: A Nobel Prize Winner in Physics Writes Provocatively on a Wide Range of Subjects (Scribner, 1968) - Part II (pp. 63–206) is a translation of Verantwortung des Naturwissenschaftlers.
- Briefwechsel 1916-1955, kommentiert von Max Born with Hedwig Born and Albert Einstein (Nymphenburger, 1969)
- The Born-Einstein Letters: Correspondence between Albert Einstein and Max and Hedwig Born from 1916–1955, with commentaries by Max Born (Macmillan
Macmillan Publishers Ltd, also known as The Macmillan Group, is a privately held international publishing company owned by Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group. It has offices in 41 countries worldwide and operates in more than thirty others.-History:...
, 1971).
- Mein Leben: Die Erinnerungen des Nobelpreisträgers (Munich: Nymphenburger, 1975). Born's published memoirs.
- My Life: Recollections of a Nobel Laureate (Scribner, 1978). Translation of Mein Leben.
- Born Nobel Prize Speech - 1954
- Born Nobel Prize Lecture - 1954
- http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/nph-abs_connect?db_key=AST&db_key=PHY&sim_query=YES&ned_query=YES&aut_logic=OR&obj_logic=OR&author=born%2C+m&object=&start_mon=&start_year=&end_mon=&end_year=1985&ttl_logic=OR&title=&txt_logic=OR&text=&nr_to_return=100&start_nr=1&jou_pick=ALL&ref_stems=&data_and=ALL&group_and=ALL&start_entry_day=&start_entry_mon=&start_entry_year=&end_entry_day=&end_entry_mon=&end_entry_year=&min_score=&sort=NDATE&data_type=SHORT&aut_syn=YES&ttl_syn=YES&txt_syn=YES&aut_wt=1.0&obj_wt=1.0&ttl_wt=0.3&txt_wt=3.0&aut_wgt=YES&obj_wgt=YES&ttl_wgt=YES&txt_wgt=YES&ttl_sco=YES&txt_sco=YES&version=1Published papers] (as listed on the Smithsonian/NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS))
- Published papers (as listed on HistCite)
- Published Books (based on the Library of Congress citations)
- Published Works - Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften Akademiebibliothek
Selected journal literature
While links have been provided in this article to journal publications by Born, a few of his papers are worth highlighting here along with citations to translations in English.
Matrix Mechanics A trilogy of papers launched the matrix mechanics formulation of quantum mechanics:
- W. Heisenberg, Über quantentheoretische Umdeutung kinematischer und mechanischer Beziehungen
"Über quantentheoretische Umdeutung kinematischer und mechanischer Beziehungen" was a breakthrough paper in quantum mechanics written by Werner Heisenberg...
, Zeitschrift für Physik, 33, 879-893, 1925 (received 29 July 1925). [English translation in: B. L. van der Waerden, editor, Sources of Quantum Mechanics (Dover Publications, 1968) ISBN 0-486-61881-1 (English title: Quantum-Theoretical Re-interpretation of Kinematic and Mechanical Relations).]
- M. Born and P. Jordan, Zur Quantenmechanik, Zeitschrift für Physik, 34, 858-888, 1925 (received 27 September 1925). [English translation in: B. L. van der Waerden, editor, Sources of Quantum Mechanics (Dover Publications, 1968) ISBN 0-486-61881-1 (English title: On Quantum Mechanics).]
- M. Born, W. Heisenberg, and P. Jordan, Zur Quantenmechanik II, Zeitschrift für Physik, 35, 557-615, 1926 (received 16 November 1925). [English translation in: B. L. van der Waerden, editor, Sources of Quantum Mechanics (Dover Publications, 1968) ISBN 0-486-61881-1]
Probability Density The now-standard interpretation of the
probability density functionIn probability theory, a probability density function , or density of a continuous random variable is a function that describes the relative likelihood for this random variable to occur at a given point. The probability for the random variable to fall within a particular region is given by the...
for ψ*ψ in the Schrödinger equation of quantum mechanics was published by Born in the first of these two papers, and it is this for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1954. The second paper is a continuation and extension of the analysis provided in the first paper.
Awards and honors
- 1934 - Stokes Medal
The Sir George Stokes Medal is named after George Gabriel Stokes and is awarded by the Analytical Division of the Royal Society of Chemistry biennially...
of Cambridge
- 1939 - Fellow of the Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...
- 1945 - MacDougall-Brisbane Medal of the Royal Society of Edinburgh
The Royal Society of Edinburgh is Scotland's national academy of science and letters. It is a registered charity, operating on a wholly independent and non-party-political basis and providing public benefit throughout Scotland...
- 1945 - Gunning-Victoria Jubilee Prize of the Royal Society of Edinburgh
The Royal Society of Edinburgh is Scotland's national academy of science and letters. It is a registered charity, operating on a wholly independent and non-party-political basis and providing public benefit throughout Scotland...
- 1948 - Max Planck Medaille der Deutschen Physikalischen Gesellschaft
- 1950 - Hughes Medal
The Hughes Medal is awarded by the Royal Society of London "in recognition of an original discovery in the physical sciences, particularly electricity and magnetism or their applications". Named after David E. Hughes, the medal is awarded with a gift of £1000. The medal was first awarded in 1902 to...
of the Royal Society of London
- 1953 - Honorary citizen of the town of Göttingen
- 1954 - Nobel Prize in Physics
The Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded once a year by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895 and awarded since 1901; the others are the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Nobel Prize in Literature, Nobel Peace Prize, and...
The award was for Born's fundamental research in quantum mechanicsQuantum mechanics, also known as quantum physics or quantum theory, is a branch of physics providing a mathematical description of much of the dual particle-like and wave-like behavior and interactions of energy and matter. It departs from classical mechanics primarily at the atomic and subatomic...
, especially for his statistical interpretation of the wavefunctionNot to be confused with the related concept of the Wave equationA wave function or wavefunction is a probability amplitude in quantum mechanics describing the quantum state of a particle and how it behaves. Typically, its values are complex numbers and, for a single particle, it is a function of...
.
- 1956 - Hugo Grotius
Hugo Grotius , also known as Huig de Groot, Hugo Grocio or Hugo de Groot, was a jurist in the Dutch Republic. With Francisco de Vitoria and Alberico Gentili he laid the foundations for international law, based on natural law...
Medal for International Law, Munich
- 1959 - Grand Cross of Merit with Star of the Order of Merit of the German Federal Republic
The Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany is the only general state decoration of the Federal Republic of Germany. It has existed since 7 September 1951, and between 3,000 and 5,200 awards are given every year across all classes...
- 1982 - Ceremony at the University of Göttingen in the 100th Birth Year of Max Born and James Franck
James Franck was a German Jewish physicist and Nobel laureate.-Biography:Franck was born to Jacob Franck and Rebecca Nachum Drucker. Franck completed his Ph.D...
, Institute Directors 1921 - 1933.
- Max-Born Institut für Nichtlineare Optik und Kurzzeitspektroskopie im Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V. - Institute named in his honor.
See also
- Born approximation
In scattering theory and, in particular in quantum mechanics, the Born approximation consists of taking the incident field in place of the total field as the driving field at each point in the scatterer. Born approximation is named after Max Born, winner of the 1954 Nobel Prize for physics.It is...
- Born rigidity
Born rigidity, proposed by and later named after Max Born, is a concept in special relativity. It is one answer to the question of what, in special relativity, corresponds to the rigid body of non-relativistic classical mechanics....
- Born–Haber cycle
- Born–Infeld theory
- Born-Oppenheimer approximation
In quantum chemistry, the computation of the energy and wavefunction of an average-size molecule is a formidable task that is alleviated by the Born–Oppenheimer approximation, named after Max Born and J. Robert Oppenheimer. For instance the benzene molecule consists of 12 nuclei and 42...
- Born's Rule
- Cauchy-Born rule
The Cauchy–Born rule or Cauchy-Born approximation states that in a crystalline solid subject to a small strain, the positions of the atoms within the crystal lattice follow the overall strain of the medium. This approximation generally holds for face-centered and body-centered cubic crystal systems...
- List of Jewish Nobel laureates
External links
- American Institute of Physics History Search: Max Born
- Encyclopaedia Britannica, Max Born - full article
- Annotated bibliography for Max Born from the Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues
- Freeview video of Gustav Born (son of Max) with conversation and film on Gustav's memories of his father by the Vega Science Trust
- Max Born’s Life
- Max Born information from Nobel Winners site
- Nobel Laureate biography
- Papers of Professor Max Born (1882-1970) Held at the Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division
- Recollections of Max Born, by Emil Wolf, in Astrophysics and Space Science, Volume 227, Numbers 1-2. (Biographical tribute)
- Kuhn, Thomas S., John L. Heilbron
John Lewis Heilbron, born 17 March 1934, is an American historian of science best known for his work in the history of physics and the history of astronomy...
, Paul FormanPaul Forman is an historian of science and a curator of the Division of Medicine and Science at the National Museum of American History. Forman's primary research focus has been the history of physics, in which he has helped pioneer the application of cultural history to scientific...
, and Lini Allen Sources for History of Quantum Physics (American Philosophical Society, 1967)
- Oral History interview transcript with Max Born June 1960, 17 & 18 October 1962, American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library and Archives