portrait of Niels Bohr
Nobel prize portrait (ca. 1922)

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Quotes of the Day for 7 October 2003 – Niels Bohr

Niels Bohr was born at Copenhagen on this day in 1885. His genius was challenged by his physiologist father, and he entered a competition from the Academy of Sciences to solve a scientific problem - his paper was published in 1908 and won him the gold medal. He received his Masters in Physics from Copenhagen University in 1911, his Doctorate in 1913. He taught both in England and in Denmark until WW II. He found work and homes for many Jewish physicists who escaped to Denmark, then went to the US where he and one of his sons worked on the Manhattan Project. He was one of the physicists who campaigned for peace after seeing what the atomic bomb was capable of. He won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922, his son Aage shared the same prize in 1975.

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You will find an expanded profile, photo, additional biographical links, and all quotes from this author on the author's Notable Quotable page.

The quotes:

An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made in a very narrow field.

Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it.

Never express yourself more clearly than you are able to think.

Of course I don't believe in it. [pointing to horseshoe on his office wall] But I understand that it brings you luck whether you believe in it or not.

We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question which divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct. My own feeling is that it is not crazy enough.

There are trivial truths and there are great truths. The opposite of a trivial truth is plainly false. The opposite of a great truth may well be another profound truth.
     - All from Niels Bohr, 1885 - 1962

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