Thursday, September 10, 2009

Deceased--Aage Bohr

Aage Bohr
June 19th, 1922 to September 8th, 2009

"Denmark's Nobel prize winner Aage Bohr dies at 87"


Jan M. Olsen

September 19th, 2009

Associated Press

COPENHAGEN — Aage Bohr, a nuclear physics professor and Nobel laureate like his father, has died. He was 87.

Bohr was awarded the Nobel Prize for physics in 1975. His father, Niels Bohr, who was a colleague and close friend of Albert Einstein, was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for nuclear research in 1922.

The institute named after his father where Aage Bohr was a professor of physics said Thursday that Bohr died Tuesday. A funeral will take place Monday, his family said.

Born a few months before his father received his Nobel Prize, Aage Niels Bohr grew up among nuclear physics experts because the family lived at the Copenhagen Institute for Theoretical Physics, now known as the Niels Bohr Institute.

In a biography, he described how several international nuclear physicists were part of his childhood.

"The remarkable generation of scientists who came to join my father in his work became for us children Uncle Klein, Uncle Nishina, Uncle Heisenberg, Uncle Pauli," he wrote in a reference to Oscar Klein of Sweden, Japanese physicist Yoshio Nishina, Werner Karl Heisenberg of Germany and Wolfgang Pauli of Austria.

A few months after Nazi troops invaded Denmark in 1940 in World War II, he began studying physics at the University of Copenhagen.

However, in late September 1943, Adolf Hitler ordered the deportation of Danish Jews to concentration camps. On the night of Oct. 1, 1943, Danes began smuggling the bulk of Denmark's 7,300-strong Jewish community across the Oeresund Strait to neutral Sweden. Among them was the Bohr family.

From neighboring Sweden, father and son continued to Britain, where they joined the British Department of Scientific and Industrial Research in London. During that period, the pair traveled to the U.S. and joined the Manhattan Project, which built the atomic bombs that were dropped on Japan in 1945 to end World War II.

The Danes aired their skepticism and the two warned President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill of the consequences of using the atomic bomb.

The family returned to Denmark in 1945 and Aage Bohr resumed his studies. The following year, he obtained a master's degree. After studying in the U.S. from 1948 to 1950, Bohr became professor of physics at the University of Copenhagen in 1956.

He succeeded his father as head of the Institute of Theoretical Physics in 1963. Two years later, the institute was named after his father, who died in 1962.

Aage Bohr quit the top administrative post at the Niels Bohr Institute in 1967 to devote his energies to research.

In 1975, Bohr was awarded the Nobel physics prize, which he shared with American-born Dane Ben Mottelsson and Leo James Rainwater of the U.S. Rainwater died in 1986.

The trio was given the prize for the discovery of the connection between collective motion and particle motion in atomic nuclei and the development of the theory of the structure of the atomic nucleus based on this connection.

From 1975 to 1981, Bohr was director of the Nordic Institute for Theoretical Nuclear Physics with the Niels Bohr Institute under the University of Copenhagen.

Beside physics, the reclusive Bohr enjoyed classical music, playing the grand piano himself.

He was married twice, said Finn Aaserud, a historian with the Niels Bohr Institute.

In March 1950 in New York City, he married Austrian-born Marietta Soffer with whom he had three children. She died in 1978. Three years later, he married Bente Meyer, who survived Bohr. The couple had no children.

Aage Bohr [Wikipedia]



Timothy said...

i would guess the odds of father and son winning the nobel prize are monumental.....

Mercury said...

Well Tim, there were five other father/son Nobel winners:

William Bragg
Lawrence Bragg

Hans von Euler-Chelpin
Ulf von Euler

Arthur Kornberg
Roger D. Kornberg

Manne Siegbahn
Kai M. Siegbahn

J. J. Thomson
George Paget Thomson


One mother/daughter:

Marie Curie
Irène Joliot-Curie


One father/daughter

Pierre Curie
Irène Joliot-Curie


Bragg's: Dynamic father and son team

Lawrence Bragg...people's scientist

Eve [Labouisse] Curie on radio