The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Max Born

Max Born (December 11, 1882January 5, 1970) was a Jewish German mathematician and physicist. He won the 1954 Nobel Prize in Physics. Born was the only child of Gustav Born and Margarete Kauffmann , and was the father of G. V. R. Born FRCP, Hon FRCS, FRS (born Germany, 1921), and the maternal grandfather of British singer and actress Olivia Newton-John.


Education and early work

Initially educated at the König-Wilhelm-Gymnasium, Born went on to study at the University of Breslau followed by Heidelberg University and Zurich University. During this period he came into contact with many prominent scientists and mathematicians including Klein, Hilbert, Minkowski, Runge, Schwarzschild, and Voigt.

In 1909 he was appointed a lecturer at the University of Göttingen where he worked until 1912 when he moved to work at the University of Chicago.


In 1919 after a period in the German army he became a professor at the University of Frankfurt am Main, and then professor at Göttingen, 1921. During this period, he formulated the now-standard interpretation of the probability density for ψ*ψ in the Schrödinger equation of quantum mechanics, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1954, some three decades later.

In 1933 he left Germany to escape anti-Semitism and took up a position (Stokes Lecturer) at the University of Cambridge. From 1936 to 1953 he was Tait Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. He became a British subject in 1939.

Albert Einstein was a friend of Born's, and it was in a letter to him in 1926 that Einstein made his famous remark regarding quantum mechanics, often paraphrased as "God does not play dice with the universe."

Max and Hedwig Born retired to Bad Pyrmont (10km south of Hameln) in Germany.

Published Works

  • The Restless Universe - a popularization for students
  • Einstein's Theory of Relativity 1924. (The 1962 Dover edition, page 348 lists a table documenting the observed and calculated values for the precession of the perihelion of Mercury, Venus, and Earth.)
  • Dynamics of Crystal Lattices,
  • Optics,
  • Natural Philosophy of Cause and Chance and
  • Zur Quantummechanik.
  • Natural Philosophy of Cause and Chance, Born solves Kant's puzzle of the Ding an Sich, the thing in itself. See also: The Born-Einstein Letters.


External links

Last updated: 08-18-2005 01:48:54
Last updated: 09-12-2005 02:39:13