Bohr & The Model: Lectures, film and exhibition – University of Copenhagen

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Bohr & The Model: Lectures, film and exhibition

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Niels Bohr’s atomic model, the Niels Bohr Institute and The Royal Library are offering lectures, film and exhibition.

To emphasize the importance of the atomic model in the world, the Niels Bohr Institute has invited three American physicists, including two Nobel laureates, to talk about the development initiated by Bohr's model. At the event we will meet physicist and Nobel laureate Steven Chu who has served as Secretary of Energy and helped the U. S. President Obama to see the potential of clean energy.

Film and lectures

5 October 2013, 13.00‐18.00

The Black Diamond, The Queens Hall

The film and the lectures are in English

The film 'Taming the Quantum World' highlights today's understanding of the strange quantum physics which Niels Bohr discussed with Albert Einstein with much fervour.

Taming the Quantum World (documentary film)

An excerpt from the upcoming documentary "Taming the Quantum World" by the award winning director Lars Becker-Larsen and producer Gitte Randløv will be presented.


The sneak preview is prepared specially for the event and will be presented by the film director.


The preview will be followed by a question and answer session about quantum information conducted by the scientists from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Denmark featured in the documentary.

William D. Phillips, Nobel laureate, Physicist, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Bohr’s Atom, Atomic Time, and the Coolest Stuff in the Universe

One hundred years ago, Niels Bohr changed the way we think about the natural world. The changes were so profound that even today we are finding new applications growing from Bohr’s revolutionary insights.


Among the fruits of Bohr’s quantum theory was the idea that quantum atoms could be timekeepers. Today, atomic clocks are one of the scientific and technological wonders of contemporary life. These super-accurate clocks are essential to industry, commerce, and science. They are the heart of the Satellite Navigation System that guides airplanes, trucks, cars, and hikers to their destinations.


The best of these atomic clocks depend on atoms that have been cooled to less than a millionth of a degree above the Absolute Zero of temperature, and are currently accurate to better than a second in a hundred million years. Not only do these clocks improve the SatNav performance, the ultracold atoms that make them tick are helping us to better understand the quantum description of matter pioneered by Bohr.

William F. Brinkman, Physicist, Princeton University, served as Vice President, Research, AT&T Bell Labs and Director, Office of Science, U.S. Department of Energy.

From Bohr’s Atom to the Internet

The model of an atom proposed by Niels Bohr in 1913 was one of the important steps in the development of the quantum mechanical description of the world as we know it today, a century later. The inventors of this new physics could not possibly have known that their discoveries would lead to a world in which everyone is interconnected.


Quantum mechanics has allowed us to understand and create solids and devices that could never have been envisioned without it. Of particular importance was the understanding of semiconductors, the essential ingredient for all electronics. We now can fabricate materials with specific properties to make logic and memory devices, optical fibers for transmission of information and microwave receivers and transmitters. These are the ingredients of our phones and computers today.

Steven Chu, Nobel laureate, Physicist, Standford University, served as 12th United States Secretary of Energy 2009-2013.

From Atoms to Climate Change: Prediction is Very Difficult, Especially about the Future
In the closing remarks of his Nobel Lecture, Niels Bohr acknowledges that his model of the atom was merely a classification of observations "in a very preliminary stage and many fundamental questions still await solution." Three years later, and true to his famous quip about predictions, the Bohr Model was superseded by Quantum Mechanics, a remarkably successful theory of the microscopic world.


Although Quantum Mechanics has remained a cornerstone theory of the physical world, it describes fundamental limitations in our ability to predict the outcome of any individual measurement. Quantum Mechanics is also in direct conflict with another foundational theory, Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. There is one feature of any successor theory that embraces quantum mechanics and relativity: the sum of all future probabilities must add to one. Something will happen.


Today, we face considerable uncertainty in our ability to predict how the climate of our planet will evolve. After briefly describing the fundamental conflict between relativity and quantum mechanics, I will discuss recent observations of our planet's changing climate. There is considerable uncertainty in predicting the future climate and there may also be fundamental limitations. Nevertheless, uncertainty in the outcome should not be an excuse for inaction.

The event is partially funded by:





The Danish Council for Independent Research | Natural Sciences


University Post: Atom's 100th brithday celebrated with liquid nitrogen >>


From 5 to 31 October 2013
The Black Diamond
Free access to the exhibition (in Danish)

Bohr & The Model 1912-1922:

  • The Atomic Model (1912-1913)
  • The Niels Bohr Institute (1921)
  • The Nobel Prize (1922)
  • Niels Bohr private.

The exhibition is organized by the Niels Bohr Archive and the Niels Bohr Institute in collaboration with The Royal Library.