Niels Bohr has proved to be a man of tremendous scientific genius with the ability to make a difference in the world by studying and solving the complex mysteries of the microscopic processes of science. Though many of the contributions he has made are unknown to the average person, they are nonetheless important and help to explain the many complicated processes that take place around us. His discoveries have greatly improved our lives directly and indirectly. .
Niels Hendrik David Bohr was born in Copenhagen, Denmark on October 7, 1885. His father was a scientist and professor at the University of Copenhagen, and Niels was raised in a home where science was the chief interest. He entered the University of Copenhagen in 1903. His main interest was physics, and he was also an excellent soccer player. By 1907, Niels had already won a gold medal from the Royal Danish Academy for his scientific work. He received his master's degree in 1909, and his doctor's degree in 1911. .
After receiving his PhD, Niels developed a great interest in the atom. He decided to go to England and study with J.J. Thomson and Ernest Rutherford. Both of these men were leaders in atomic physics. Bohr first studied under Thomson at Cambridge University, but they failed to find a rapport, and Thomson expressed little interest in Bohr's work. Niels moved to Manchester in 1912 to work with Rutherford. Ernest Rutherford had just discovered the nucleus of the atom from analysis of his team's gold foil experiments. Niels made the main breakthrough by proposing that the orbital momentum of an electron in orbit around a nucleus is quantized, so that it can only jump from one allowed orbit to another, and not spiral steadily into the nucleus. The energy associated with these quantum jumps explained the lines seen in the spectra of different elements. .
Niels returned to Copenhagen in 1913 as a lecturer at the university. Here is where he developed his new ideas, and his new theory became the basis of the branch of modern physics known as quantum mechanics.