quantum mechanics, Danish Americans, Danish physicist


Danish Americans, as publications in The Bridge attest, look back on their ancestral home with a wide variety of feelings. For a professional physicist Denmark is a legendary name, for in Copenhagen in the early twentieth century, there emerged in a remarkable way one of the greatest revolutions in human thought, the invention of quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics has had an enormous influence in physics and on the world, for in that brief period of time things were understood which had always evaded explanation: such as the structure and radiation of atoms and molecules, the behavior of metals, and the structure and properties of electrons and nuclei of atoms. From this knowledge flowed the creation of nuclear energy, new kinds of materials, new technical advances in nuclear technology, chemistry, physics, and electronics. This new knowledge did not originate solely in Copenhagen, but the life of Niels Bohr (1885-1962) and the institute on Blegdamsvej named for him, is inextricable from the central story.