The European Physical Society [EPS] has declared the Niels Bohr Institute as an EPS Historic Site with great international importance for developments in physics and research on 3 December 2013. The Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark, was established in 1921 for the physicist and Nobel laureate, Niels Bohr, who in 1913 created the ground-breaking atomic model that formed the basis for our understanding of how the world is constructed, and later as the basis for quantum mechanics, which has revolutionised technological development.
Across the world, organisations declare UNESCO sites, buildings and monuments as the cultural or natural heritage of mankind. Since science is a fundamental part of our culture, the European Physical Society [EPS] has declared particularly important sites as “Historic Sites” for science. The Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen has been selected on this basis: “This is where the foundations of atomic physics and modern physics were laid in a creative scientific environment inspired by Niels Bohr in the 1920s and 30s.”
For years, Niels Bohr worked in humble conditions at the University of Copenhagen, but in 1921 he got his very own Institute of Theoretical Physics. It was a brand new building on Blegdamsvej 17 and was the setting for Bohr’s work for the rest of his life. Niels Bohr was at the origin of a fundamental change in thinking in physics and at the same time he managed to create an international environment that attracted some of the best scientists from around the world. Many foreign researchers visited Copenhagen, where they exchanged views and ideas with each other and with him. Several of them were later awarded the Nobel Prize for their work, including George de Hevesy, Aage Bohr and Ben Mottelson.
The Niels Bohr Institute at Blegdamsvej in Copenhagen has been the setting of no fewer than four Nobel laureates. Niels Bohr won the Nobel Prize in 1922 for his pioneering model of the atom, George de Hevesy received the Nobel Prize in 1943 for his pioneering work in nuclear medicine, and in 1975 Aage Bohr and Ben Mottelson received the Nobel Prize for their model of the structure of the atomic nucleus.
The inauguration of the Niels Bohr Institute as a Historic Site of the EPS has been celebrated on 3 December in the historic Auditorium A, in the presence of EPS President John Dudley. A plaque has been placed on the building front with the inscription: “This is where the foundations of atomic physics and modern physics were laid in a creative scientific environment inspired by Niels Bohr in the 1920s and 30s.”
More information on the EPS Historic Sites can be found on the EPS website.