Max Born

Max Born

Max Born was born into a Jewish family in Breslau, Germany, on 11th December, 1882. He studied physics at the University of Gottingen and obtained his doctorate in 1907.

Born became professor of physics at Frankfurt-am-Main (1919-21) before moving back to the University of Gottingen where he made it into the centre for theoretical physics.

Inspired by the work of Nils Bohr, Born attempted to seek a mathematical explanation for the quantum theory. In 1924 Born coined the term quantum mechanics and the following year worked with his student, Werner Heisenberg, to develop a system called matrix mechanics that accounted mathematically for the position and momentum of the electron in the atom.

Born was an opponent of Adolf Hitler and he left Germany when he came to power in 1933. He went to England where he became a lecturer at the University of Cambridge. Later he became professor of natural philosophy at the University of Edinburgh (1936-53).

After the Second World War he returned to Germany and in 1954 shared the Nobel prize with Walther Bothe for their work in the field of quantum physics.

Max Born died on 5th January, 1970.