Max Born

(1882-1970)


Max Born was born on December 11, 1882, in Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland). Born studied physics at the universities of Breslau, Heidelberg, and Zürich. In 1909, he was appointed a lecturer at the University of Göttingen, where he worked until 1912, when he moved to work at th University of Chicago. In 1915, he returned to Germany but had to join the Germany Army. In 1919, he became a professor at the University of Frankfurt-am-Main, and then professor at Göttingen in 1921. It was during this period that Born formulated the interpretation of the probability density function for for ?*? in the Schrodinger equation of quantum mechanics. His ideas replaced the original quantum theory; today, it is Born’s mathematical equation that is utilized.

In 1933, Born fled Germany to escape the rising anti-Semitism and accepted the position of Stokes Lecturer at the University of Cambridge. From 1936 to 1953, he was Tait Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. During this period, Born’s work focused on nonlinear electrodynamics. In 1953, Born retired and returned to Germany in Bad Pyrmont, near Göttingen. He became a British subject and a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1939.

In 1954, Born received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the probablity density function and his studies of wave functions. Other than winning the Nobel Prize, Born was awarded the Stokes Medal from the University of Cambridge and the Hughes Medal (1950).

He published numerous works including, The Restless Universe, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity (1924), and Natural Philosophy of Cause and Chance.

Born died in Göttingen, Germany on January 5, 1970.


Sources: Nobel Prize; The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive; Wikipedia.