Max Planck

Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck, (German; April 23, 1858 – October 4, 1947) Theoretical physicist who originated quantum theory, which won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918. Planck made many contributions to theoretical physics, but his fame rests primarily on his role as originator of the quantum theory. This theory revolutionized human understanding of atomic and subatomic processes, just as Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity revolutionized the understanding of space and time. Together they constitute the fundamental theories of 20th-century physics. Read more… More

Enrico Fermi

Enrico Fermi (Italian; 29 September 1901 – 28 November 1954) Physicist, best known for his work on Chicago Pile (the first nuclear reactor), and for his contributions to the development of quantum theory, nuclear and particle physics, and statistical mechanics. He is one of the men referred to as the “father of the atomic bomb.” Fermi held several patents related to the use of nuclear power, and was awarded the 1938 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on induced radioactivity by neutron bombardment and the discovery of transuranic elements. He was widely regarded as one of the very few … More

Wolfgang Pauli

Wolfgang Ernst Pauli (Austrian; 25 April 1900 – 15 December 1958) Theoretical physicist and one of the pioneers of quantum physics. In 1945, after having been nominated by Albert Einstein, Pauli received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his “decisive contribution through his discovery of a new law of Nature, the exclusion principle or Pauli principle.” The discovery involved spin theory, which is the basis of a theory of the structure of matter. Read more… More

Niels Bohr

Niels Henrik David Bohr (Danish; 7 October 1885 – 18 November 1962) Physicist who made foundational contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum theory, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922. Bohr was also a philosopher and a promoter of scientific research. Bohr developed the Bohr model of the atom, in which he proposed that energy levels of electrons are discrete, and that the electrons revolve in stable orbits around the atomic nucleus, but can jump from one energy level (or orbit) to another. Although the Bohr model has been supplanted by other models, its underlying … More

Max Born

Max Born (German-British; 11 December 1882 – 5 January 1970) Physicist and mathematician who was instrumental in the development of quantum mechanics. He also made contributions to solid-state physics and optics and supervised the work of a number of notable physicists in the 1920s and 30s. Born won the 1954 Nobel Prize in Physics for his “fundamental research in Quantum Mechanics.” Read more… More