Max Born Biography

Max Born, a German physicist, played a crucial role in the development of quantum mechanics. He made significant contributions to solid-state physics and mentored many renowned physicists. Born’s association with Albert Einstein as a friend and collaborator is well-known. His groundbreaking work on the statistical interpretation of quantum theory, particularly the wave function, earned him the Nobel Prize in Physics alongside Walter Bothe. Despite facing challenges and being overshadowed by his peers, Born’s contributions were instrumental in shaping the field of quantum physics. This introduction provides a glimpse into the life and scientific achievements of this esteemed physicist.

Quick Facts

  • German Celebrities Born In December
  • Died At Age: 87
  • Family: children: Gritli Born, Irene Born
  • Born Country: Poland
  • Quotes By Max Born
  • Physicists
  • Died on: January 5, 1970
  • Place of death: Göttingen, Germany
  • Notable Alumni: University Of Breslau, Gonville And Caius College, Cambridge
  • Grouping of People: Nobel Laureates in Physics
  • City: Wrocław, Poland
  • More Facts
  • Education: University Of Göttingen, Heidelberg University, Gonville And Caius College, Cambridge, University Of Breslau
  • Awards: 1954 – Nobel Prize in Physics, 1950 – Hughes Medal, 1948 – Max Planck Medal

Childhood and Early Life

Max Born was born on December 11, 1882, in Breslau, Germany, to Gustav Born and Margarethe Kaufman. His father was an anatomist and embryologist. Max Born was accepted into the ‘University of Breslau’ in 1901, when he was nineteen years old.

Education and Early Career

After three years at the ‘University of Breslau’, Born enrolled at the ‘University of Gottingen’. At Gottingen, he was introduced to three highly esteemed mathematicians: David Hilbert, Felix Klein, and Hermann Minkowski. Born soon became David Hilbert’s personal assistant and transcribed Hilbert’s lectures. He developed close ties with both Hilbert and Minkowski, who would often meet Born for Sunday dinner.

Career and Contributions

After earning his Ph.D. in mathematics at Gottingen in 1906, Born joined the army for a brief span of time. He served in the army for six months before being discharged due to a violent asthma attack. He was then re-inducted into the army and swiftly removed six weeks later because of another asthma attack.

Born was introduced to Albert Einstein’s work on special relativity in 1907 and soon began working with Minkowski on special relativity. Minkowski died before they could present their findings to the ‘Gottingen Mathematics Society’. Born presented his findings at the ‘Gottingen Mathematics Society’ without Minkowski in 1909. He met with a lot of resistance but was encouraged by his peers to continue his research.

He co-wrote ‘Dynamik der Kristall-gitter’, or ‘The Dynamical Theory of Crystal Lattices’, in 1915, with Kun Huang. The book laid down the groundwork for mineralogy and crystallography. He published “Die Relativitiitstheorie Einsteins and Hire physikalischen Grundlagen” in 1923, an important work that greatly influenced quantum mechanics. The writings were well received by Einstein himself.

Born moved from Germany to England in 1933 to teach at the University. He briefly taught at ‘Oxford’ and ‘Cambridge’ before moving to the ‘University of Edinburgh’. He won the ‘Stokes Medal of Cambridge’ in 1934, marking the point at which Born became a very prominent contributor to the science community in England.

Later Career and Legacy

Born published the book ‘Atomic Physics’ in 1935, which created the subject of atomic physics, and ‘The Restless Universe’, an introduction to the world of quantum mechanics. He became a fellow of the ‘Royal Society’ in 1939. He published ‘Experiment and Theory in Physics’ in 1943, which laid down the standard procedures for conducting physics experiments. Born penned ‘A General Kinetic Theory of Liquids’ and ‘Natural Philosophy of Cause and Chance’ while working at ‘Oxford University’ in 1949.

Born was honored with the ‘Nobel Prize in Physics’ in 1954 for his research in quantum mechanics, especially for his statistical interpretation of the wave function. He passed away on January 5, 1970, and was interred at the City Cemetery in Gottingen.

Personal Life and Legacy

Max Born married Hedwig Ehrenberg on August 2, 1913, and the couple had three children. The ‘Max Born Prize’ was created by the ‘German Physical Society’ and the British Institute of Physics in 1972. Erwin Schrodinger formulated a version of quantum mechanics based on Born’s wave equation.

Leave a Comment