Max Born, Pioneer of Quantum Mechanics, Honoured with Google Doodle on his 135th Birth Anniversary

Shruti Venkatesh
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Max Born, Pioneer of Quantum Mechanics, Honoured with Google Doodle on his 135th Birth Anniversary

Born was awarded the Nobel Prize for his contribution to the field of quantum mechanics

Google Doodle today celebrates the 135th birth anniversary of Max Born. Born was a German physicist and mathematician who is regarded as a pioneer of quantum mechanics. Without his contributions, the world, as we know it, would not be the same. Quantum mechanics have helped in the advancement of several technologies like personal computers, lasers, and medical imaging devices (MRI) to other game-changing technologies. And Born’s theory now provides the basis for practically all quantum physics predictions. His contributions were recognized in 1954, when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for his contribution to the field of quantum mechanics. 

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Today’s doodle shows Born pondering over papers and books filled with equations. The physicist is at work, as he scratches his forehead with the symbol of the wave equation known as Psi in physics, while his left hand is placed over his chin. It is the 23rd letter of the Greek alphabet. The reach of this doodle, created by guest artist Kati Szilagyi, is across countries including Russia, India, Cuba, United States, Columbia, Indonesia, Iceland, Spain, Greece, Germany, Peru, Argentina and Sweden.

Max Born was born on December 11, 1882 to Professor Gustav Born and Margarete. Since childhood, he was an exceptional student. He completed his Ph.D. from Göttingen University and became a professor of theoretical physics. As a Professor, he had collaborated with some of the best minds of that time. However, with the growth of Nazism in Germany, Born was forced to flee Germany for England in 1933. In England, he served as the Tait Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh for nearly two decades until his retirement in 1954 when he returned home to Göttingen.

Born was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1954 for the Born Rule — a quantum theory that uses mathematical probability to predict the location of wave particles in a quantum system. The previous theories had proposed that wave equations were exact measurements, involving cumbersome physical measurement experiments. It was Born who discovered that matrices or “arrays of numbers by rows and columns” could yield a similar result, relying on predictions of probability. This revolutionary theory now provides the basis for practically all quantum physics predictions, notes Google on its blog.

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Besides this theory, Born also studied the theory of relativity and worked with physicists Lummer and Pringsheim during 1908-1909. He also stayed in India for a short period of six months to work with Nobel Prize winner, Sir CV Raman. Born has received fellowships from many academies, including Moscow, Berlin, Gottingen, London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Bangalore, Washington and Boston.