Born Max

(11.12.1882 - 05.01.1970)


German theoretical physicist, one of the founders of modern quantum theory, author of numerous works on the theory of relativity, electrodynamics, crystal lattice dynamics, crystal thermodynamics, kinetic theory of liquids, scattering theory and a number of publications on philosophical questions of physics, Nobel Prize winner (1954), creator Gottingen School of Theoretical Physics, an honorary member of many academies and scientific societies, a foreign member of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1934). Known active struggle for peace.

Born in Poland in the city of Breslau, now Wroclaw.

Grandfather Born was the first Jew to receive the official post of district doctor from the Prussian government. Max's father, an embryologist, was in charge of the department at the University of Breslau. He was widowed when Max was 4 years old, but the child inherited from his mother a love of music. Kaiser Wilhelm’s gymnasium, where he was sent to study, was a regular public institution where the focus was on Latin and Greek, but modern foreign languages ​​were studied (except German), as well as mathematics, history and physics. Max and his friend, led by a physics teacher, were even able to reproduce Marconi's wireless radio experience.

Enrolling at the University of Breslav after graduating from high school, Max, on the advice of his deceased father shortly before that, before finally choosing a specialty, attended lectures on various subjects, until he chose mathematics and astronomy. Traditionally, students traveled to various universities during the summer semester. Born went to Göttingen, where three distinguished mathematicians worked - Felix Klein, David Gilbert and Hermann Minkowski. He attended their courses and seminars. Hilbert gave him a place (unpaid) as a private assistant, after Klein's seminars on the theory of elasticity, he wrote a paper that won an award at an annual competition, but preferred to take an astronomy exam for a doctoral degree.

After receiving his doctoral degree, Bourne underwent a year of compulsory military service. After some time, he was released due to illness, but he retained forever his aversion to everything connected with military service. By this time, Born had already become acquainted with Einstein's first articles on the theory of relativity and sent Minkowski his manuscript devoted to the problem of electromagnetic mass. The result was an invitation to Göttingen. But cooperation tragically ended: after the operation of appendicitis, Minkowski died.

In 1912, Born was appointed a private lecturer in Göttingen, and in 1914 he moved to the University of Berlin. During the war, Born took every opportunity to pull his students and colleagues from the front.

In April 1919, he began working in Frankfurt am Main as an ordinary university professor and director of the Institute for Theoretical Physics.

In 1921, Born was invited to the post of director of the Physics Institute of the University of Gottingen. The first two years he continued to work on a solid body, and then began the star period of his work in the field of quantum theory. Werner, Wolfgang and student Pascual Jordan became his staff and graduate students. For a while, various formulations of quantum theory coexisted. In the creation of one of them - the matrix - Born took an active part. The other belonged to Erwin, who proposed an equation that still holds the leading place in quantum theory and bears the name of its author.

In the spring of 1933, after the fascists came to power, Bourne was removed from work and soon left Germany, moving to Cambridge. There, together with Leopold Infeld, he was engaged in the construction of a nonlinear generalization of the equations of electrodynamics. At the same time he worked on the textbook "Atomic Physics". In October 1936, Born began working at the Department of Natural Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. Soon he was elected a member of the Royal Society of London. He worked in Edinburgh for 17 years. Over the years, he has repeatedly invited overseas to give lectures, participated in many scientific conferences, conducted a large pedagogical work, published many articles on theoretical physics and on philosophical questions of natural science. Being a staunch anti-fascist and a fighter for peace, he devoted much time to social activities. Reaching the age limit (70 years), Born in 1953 returned with his family to Germany and settled in a small secluded resort town of Bad Pyrmont near Göttingen, where he lived until his death. In 1954 he was awarded the Nobel Prize. Awarded during the life of numerous honors, he will forever remain among the first theorists of the 20th century.

He died in Göttingen. Buried in the town cemetery.

Glacier on the Ny-Friesland peninsula, West Spitsbergen Island. Coordinates 79° 11.0'N   16° 40.0'E.


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