Celebrating 100 years of quantum atom discovery

The centenary of the discovery of the quantum atom by Niels Bohr will be celebrated at the University with an event organised by the Institute of Physics today (Saturday).

The Danish physicist and philosopher conducted postdoctoral work at the Victoria University of Manchester following an invite from Ernest Rutherford.

The New Zealander had discovered the atomic nucleus in 1911 and further investigations by Bohr led to his quantum model of the atom where electrons travel around the nucleus in certain orbits. When these electrons moved from a higher energy orbit to a lower one, they would emit a quantum of discrete energy. His theory won Bohr the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922.

“The discoveries of the atomic nucleus, and subsequently the quantum atom and the concepts of isotopes and atomic number, between 1911 and 1913, were perhaps the most important of advances in physical science of the 20th century and lay the foundations for modern physics and chemistry, including the periodic table as we know it today,” said Dr Neil Todd, from The University of Manchester and one of the speakers at the event.

“Across the world events have been taking place to celebrate the centenary of this historical landmark. This period also stands out as one of the greatest in the history of science at the University of Manchester. It is fitting, therefore, that this celebratory event will be held close to site of the old Physical Laboratories now referred to as the Rutherford Building. The meeting will also celebrate the work of HGJ Moseley for his work in establishing the concept of atomic number.”

Dr Todd's lecture is entitled: “Bohr and Moseley in Manchester from a Manchester perspective”.

Also speaking at the event are:

Dr Finn Aaserud, Niels Bohr Archive, Copenhagen: “At home while away: The private background of Bohr’s scientific creativity, 1910-1913”. 

Professor Emeritus John Heilbron, University of California, Berkeley: “Bohr and Moseley: A Fleeting Collaboration”. 

Dr Aaserud and Professor Heilbron will also be promoting their new book, “Love, Literature and the Quantum Atom,” published by Oxford University Press.


Notes for editors

For further information about the book contact: jennifer.winders@oup.com

For media enquiries contact:

Aeron Haworth
Media Relations
Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences
The University of Manchester

Tel: 0161 275 8387
Mob: 07717 881563
Email: aeron.haworth@manchester.ac.uk