Neils Bohr

From dream to discovery

How to let emerge the genius in you? I know... you 're probably thinking... but I have nothing great in me. Are you so sure? And if we had fun to slip into the shoes of the biggest... and to imitate them. With the famous physicist Niels Bohr, for example, we can learn the power of obsessive questions!

Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922, the Danish Niels Bohr often spoke of the dream that led him to the discovery of the structure of the atom. The son of an academic father and father of a son, Aage Niels Bohr, co-winner with Ben Roy Mottelson and James Rainwater of the Nobel prize in physics (1975) - received his PhD in 1911. 

Known as the father of quantum mechanics and as one of the important figures of the twentieth century, Niels Borh became famous for deciphering complex problems in the field of physics. What can we learn from this scientist? The answers always reveal to us, little by little, even when we feel dazzling. Niels Borhr, for example, had tried many times to understand the structure of the atom, but not any of its configurations worked. Then one night, he dreamed of an atomic nucleus with electrons revolving around like so many planets revolving around their sun. Upon awakening, he had the intuition that this vision was finally good. He returned to his lab to conduct experiments which proved his new theory.

Among his many discoveries, Niels Bohr is at the origin of the principle of complementarity: objects can be analyzed separately and each analysis shows the opposite properties. For example, physicists explain that light is both wave and particle beam, the photons. This idea has inspired its image that it represents the yin yang symbol accompanied by a Latin motto: Contraria sunt complementa (opposites are complementary).1

Professors know how students love good stories —as we all do. This is a great way to help the understanding of complex concepts. Besides, if you like this kind of stories, I recommend reading Suspended in languages, a very enjoyable read, accessible and well documented where you will discover the fascinating life and discoveries of Niels Bohr. It is ironic that Niels Borh was —as his mathematician brother— a top athlete. The scientific biography confirms recent research in neuroscience and biology: promising gene family (which continue to grow throughout our lives, I will speak of epigenetics in a future post), a good education and healthy lifestyle are a winning combination for leading a creative and happy life.

4 lessons of creativity
inspired by the physicist Niels Bohr!

1. A problem must be examined in a thousand different ways. Never be satisfied with a question before making him suffer all the possible transformations.

2. Continually asking questions is often the trait of a genius. Let's be obsessive! The only area where it cannot harm us.

3. Using metaphors and contrary (Castoriadis and Aristotle said the same thing), the physicist Niels Bohr said: "If we manage to match the opposites, then stop thinking, mind going to a new level of reflection." When he stated that light was both a set of particles and a waveform, he was able to formulate the theory of complementarity. The abandonment of logical thinking can help us to create."

4. Multiply combinations. Niels Bohr was doing it all the time... to the point that he even dreamed the night. Learning to see and observe every detail. A problem should be returned from all sides. This is often by formulating various questions that new avenues of research lie ahead. If, during the day, we ask a thousand questions about a specific topic and trying thousand combinations, let us pay attention to our dreams... because even at night, our brain works for us!