Born: 11 December 1882, Breslau (now Wroclaw), Germany (now Poland)
Died: 5 January 1970, Göttingen, West Germany (now Germany)
Affiliation at the time of the award: Edinburgh University, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Prize motivation: "for his fundamental research in quantum mechanics, especially for his statistical interpretation of the wavefunction"
Field: quantum mechanics
Prize share: 1/2
In Niels Bohr's theory of the atom, the electrons absorb and emit radiation of fixed wavelengths when jumping between the fixed orbits around a nucleus. The theory gave a good description of the spectrum from the hydrogen atom, but must be further developed for more complicated atoms and molecules. Following Werner Heisenberg's work, around 1925 Max Born contributed to the development of quantum mechanics. He showed that Schrödinger's wave equation could be interpreted as giving statistical predictions of variables instead of exact.