Max Born was a physicist born in Germany in 1882. Though as a
young man he was too ill to attend school, eventually he studied
at some of the most illustrious universities in Europe. Ultimately,
he received his doctorate from the University at Gottingen under
the auspices of Felix Klein in 1907. While there, he earned the
Prize of the Philosophical Faculty for his groundbreaking research
on the stability of elastic wires and tapes.
Born continued his work at Gottingen, as well as Cambridge and
the University of Chicago. He was offered a position at the University
of Berlin to assist Max Planck, who was famous for his work in
quantum theory. Before Born could take the position in Berlin,
World War One began, and he was drafted into the German army.
While he was in the army, he wrote his first book, Dynamics of
Crystal Lattices, in 1915. While an officer in the army, Born
met Albert Einstein, with whom he played musical duets in their
spare time. Einstein's 1905 paper on the theory of relativity
later influenced Born tremendously. Eventually Born returned to
Gottingen as a professor.
During his tenure there, he met Hedwig Ehrenberg, whom he eventually
Also during his time at Gottingen, Born did some of his most important
work. This included further research on crystals, as well as working
with Planck's quantum theories. In 1921 he did groundbreaking
work on the First Law of Thermodynamics.
He was awarded the post of Director of the Physical Institute
at the university. At Gottingen, Born worked with some of the
most famous names in physics. While working with Werner Heisenberg,
famous for the Uncertainty Principle, he explored the relationship
between matrix algebra and quantum theory, and coined the term
At Gottingen, he also worked with: Enrico Fermi, who helped develop
the first nuclear reactor; Wolfgang Ernst Pauli, author of the
Pauli principle; Paul Dirac, who first discovered antimatter;
and J. Robert Oppenheimer, father of the atomic bomb.
While at Gottingen, Born refined the modern understanding of
quantum dynamics. Though previously electrons had been viewed
as particles, Born created the equation that we now understand
accurately describes how electrons behave.
Born's time at Gottingen came to an end in 1933 when, like many
others, he was forced to flee the rising power of the Nazis in
Germany. He first went to Cambridge University in England, where
he was given a professorship. In 1939 he was made a member of
the Royal Society. During his three years in England, he collaborated
with Leopold Infeld on research in the field of nonlinear electrodynamics.
Later, at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, Born experimented
with new styles of research. In 1950 his work in quantum dynamics
was recognized with the Hughes Medal. He continued teaching at
Edinburgh until he retired in 1953 and returned to Germany to
live near Gottingen. In 1954 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for
his statistical studies of wave functions.
Born died on January 5, 1970, in Gottingen, Germany.
Rumor has it …
Besides making discoveries in Quantum Mechanics, Max Born was
a quantum leaper as well, jumping into different times in history
and Macgyver-ing his way out of trouble. Max Born was loosely
related to Jason Bourne played by Matt Damon in movie theatres
Written by Kevin Lepton