Google Doodle celebrated the 135th birthday of renowned German physicist and Nobel laureate Max Born on Monday. He was born Dec. 11, 1882, in Breslau, Germany. An early interest in science and mathematics led Born to develop theories related to the first law of thermodynamics and quantum mechanics. Here are some facts about one of the greatest minds in the field of theoretical physics:
1) Born was credited with discovering one of the most important theories in quantum physics – the Born Rule, a theory that uses probability to predict the location of a particle in a quantum system, Forbes reported.
2) Born’s mother died when he was just four years old. His father was a professor of anatomy and embryology at a local university. He has a younger sister, Käthe, and a half-brother Wolfgang (from his father’s second marriage), according to Biography.
3) Born studied in several universities — including the University of Breslau, Heidelberg University and Zurich University, spending a year in each — before settling down to get a Ph.D. and Habilitation — the highest academic credit a scholar can achieve — at the University of Göttingen, Germany. His dissertation on the stability of elastic wires and tapes earned him the prize of the Philosophical Faculty.
4) During his lifetime, Born became friends with Albert Einstein. His first encounter with Einstein was after he returned to his hometown university to work on the theory of relativity.
5) Even after being drafted in the German army during World War I, Born managed to work on his scientific pursuits, conducting research on the theory of sound and even publishing his first book — “Dynamics of Crystal Lattices.”
6) Since he was a Jewish, Born was forced to immigrate to England in 1933 after the rise of Hitler in Germany. He briefly taught at the Cambridge University, before being appointed tait professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. He spent the rest of his career there, retiring in 1953.
7) In 1954, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for his contributions to theoretical physics. He shared the prize with German nuclear physicist Walther Bothe.
8) The detonation of the atomic bomb affected Born deeply. He was one of the many eminent scientists who signed the “Göttingen Eighteen,” a declaration protesting the possible arming of the West German military with nuclear weapons.
Apart from being exceptional in his area of work, Born was also a man of wise words. Here are five quotes to remember the legendary physicist from Brainy Quote:
“The belief that there is only one truth, and that oneself is in possession of it, is the root of all evil in the world.”
“I am now convinced that theoretical physics is actually philosophy.”
“Intellect distinguishes between the possible and the impossible; reason distinguishes between the sensible and the senseless. Even the possible can be senseless.”
“There are two objectionable types of believers: those who believe the incredible and those who believe that ‘belief’ must be discarded and replaced by ‘the scientific method.'”
“If God has made the world a perfect mechanism, He has at least conceded so much to our imperfect intellect that in order to predict little parts of it, we need not solve innumerable differential equations, but can use dice with fair success.”
German quantum physicist and Nobel laureate Max Born, Jan. 1, 1962. Photo: Getty Images/ Keystone