Traveling with the Atom

Allegheny College

(compiled by Dr.Glen E. Rodgers)



Niels Bohr portrait, ca. 1917. CREDIT: AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, W.F. Meggers Collection.
Niels Bohr
Danish Physicist
1885 -1962
Niels Bohr standing in front of blackboard. CREDIT: AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives

Contribution to the Development of the Atomic Concept
After Bohr received his doctorate at the University of Copenhagen, he went to the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, England to work with J. J. Thomson.  After a disagreement with Thomson, Bohr moved to Manchester to work with Ernest Rutherford who had just discovered the nucleus and proposed his planetary theory of the atom.  In order to explain line spectra, Bohr proposed that the atom contained "stationary states" or certain, allowed energy levels.  When an electron moves up from one level to another, absorption lines result; when it drops back down, emission lines are given off.  He related the energy absorbed or emitted to the observed frequencies using Planck's equation, E = hv.  He associated energy levels with certain, allowed electronic orbits; his model worked well for the hydrogen atom but not for many-electron atoms.  He was awarded the 1922 Nobel Prize in Physics for his new theory of the atom. 

Web Sources of Biographical Information and Original Bohr Papers
Bohr's Atom Model
Atom-The Incredible World Web Page
Nobel Prize Biographical Web Page
The Niels Bohr Archive
The Niels Bohr Library (American Institute of Physics, Center for the History of Physics)
"On the Spectrum of Hydrogen" by Niels Bohr
"Atomic Structure", by Niels Bohr
Nature, March 24, 1921

Selected Biographical Books, Sections of Books, and Articles
Full biographical information in Sacks' book Uncle Tungsten pp 297-301
Full biographical information in Asimov's Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, 2nd Ed.  pp 700-702
Niels Bohr Gentle Genius of Denmark : Gentle Genius of Denmark (Makers of Modern Science), by Ray Spangenburg, Diane K. Moser Volume I - "Atomic Theory and the Description of Nature", by Niels Bohr

Some Scientific/Historical Traveling Sites
"The Mansion of Honor", on the grounds of the Carlsberg Brewery.  This house is given for life to a distinguished Danish scholar.  Bohr occupied it for most of the 30 years between 1932 and 1962 (1)
10 Gamle Carlsbergvej, 
Copenhagen, Denmark
Small historical room containing Bohr's desk and chair
The Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark
* see following Rodgers link to scientific/historical sites for further information.
(1) Taken from The Scientific Traveler, Charles Tanford and Jacqueline, John Wiley & Sons, NY (1992).
(2) Taken from A Travel Guide to Scientific Sites of the British Isles, Charles Tanford and Jacqueline Reynolds, John Wiley & Sons, NY (1995).
(3) Taken from Guide of Eurpoean Museums with collections on History of Chemistry, compiled by Jan W. van Spronsen, Federation of European Societies, Antwerp (1996)

Links to Dr. Rodgers' Scientific/Historical Sites will be available here.

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