Max Born: Bio, The Quantum Physicist & Nobel Prize Winner

Max Born an intelligent German was born in a Jewish family on December 11th, 1882. His father was a professor of medical embryology and his mother came from a Breslau family, having a textile business. Born love music which he inherited from his mother but unfortunately Born lost his mother in early childhood.

Born grew up to become a physicist and a mathematician who developed quantum mechanics and contributed to solid-state physics and optics. He taught lots of students who later won Nobel prize winners. He also was a winner of this prize.

Max attended the Konig Wilhelm Gymnasium in Breslau studying various subjects like history, physics, mathematics, Latin, Greek, and German. But his performance in school was not very promising, and humanities drew his interest rather than science.

After enrolling at the University of Breslau in 1901, under and supervision of his father and his wishes, he focused on science and learned it intensively. This results in him contributing to the world forever.

Quick Facts of Max Born

Full Name

Max Born

Nick Name


Birth Date

December 11, 1882

Age of Death

87 years old



Birth Place

Wroclaw, Poland

Father’s Name

Gustav Born

Mother’s Name



Kathe (Sister)

Wolfgang (Half-Brother)


Quantum Mechanics


Irene Born

Gritli Born

Gustav Victor Rudolf Born








Noble Prize in Physics

Max Planck Medal

Max Born Medal and Prize

Gunning Victoria Jubliee Prize


Die Relativitatstheorie Einsteins Max Born

Atomic Physics: 8th Edition Max Born

The Restless Universe


University of Zurich (1903-1903)

Heidelberg University (1902-1902)

University of Wroclaw (1901-1904)

University of Gottingen (1904-1906)


Physicist, Mathematician

Marital Status



Hedwig Ehrenberg

Net Worth

$6 Million

Social Media


Early life of Max Born

Max Born was born in Breslau presently called Wroclaw, Poland which used to be the part of Prussian Province of Silesia in the German Empire. He was the first child of his parents, and he got only one sister as a sibling.

Max’s father was Gustav Born, an anatomist, an embryologist, and a professor at the University of Breslau. His mother was Margarethe who passed away when he was just four years old. Later his father married Bertha Lipstein by whom Born got a half-brother named Wolfgang who later became a professor.

Before getting settled in Gottingen on April 1904, Born studied at Breslau, Heidelberg, and Zurich. There he came in contact with three mathematicians. Hilbert one of them realized that he had exceptional talent on math and made him a class transcriber. Born got to see Hermann Minkowski, another mathematician at Hilbert’s house.

Max Born Education

The extraordinary Born was able to impress Felix Klein by his presentation on elasticity. Klein asked him to prepare a thesis on ‘Stability of Elastica in Plane and Space‘ for which Klein nominated Max to a doctorate in mathematics. Still, he rejected the offer which made Klein not so happy over his decision.

Still, Klein’s power that could harm Born’s career compelled him to study it, which still let him get awarded on the equation he created on stability conditions in 1906. Soon he passed the viva and earned Ph.D. in mathematics magna cum laude.

On Graduation, it was compulsory to perform military service, but before completing the service, he got out due to an asthma attack in January 1907. He then went to England and got admitted to Gonville and Caius College where he studied physics for six months and rejoined the military.

Also Check: Galileo Galilei: Early Life, Career, Invention and Death>>

He then went to Breslau working under Otto Lummer and Ernst Pringsheim for having habilitation on physics. Once his experiment went wrong, and the whole laboratory got flooded, Lummer told him he could never be a physicist. Though in 1908 at Gottingen he got the position of lecturer in physics and started his career.

Career Life of Max Born

The theoretical explanation of the whole range of the variation of specific heat in solids which Born worked out along with T. Von Karma was his first outstanding work in 1912. The most credit went to Peter Debye who did the same work before Born, but lattice dynamics and quantum theory were favored.

He published 27 papers on relativity and lattice dynamics and T Von Karma by the end of 1913 which later became a book. In 1914 he took Professor of theoretical physics at the University of Berlin which was initially offered to Max von Laue, but he rejected the offer.

Max Born Invention
Max Born Invention

There he earned lifetime friend Albert Einstein. He got a chance to meet Fritz Haber with whom he discussed an ionic compound formed when metal reacts with a halogen, which is currently known as Born-Haber Cycle.

In April 1919, Born became professor ordinarius, and Director of the Institute of Theoretical Physics at the University of Frankfurt, especially on the science faculty. In 1921, Born took the directorial position of the physics department succeeding Peter Debye. He served there for 12 years.

Max Born Quantum Mechanics

Three other physicists Wolfgang Pauli, Werner Heisenberg, and Edwin Schrodinger, produced advanced quantum theory, but Born simplified this theory and reduced it to the simple foundation. He stated that quantum mechanics allowed only a statistical interpretation of events on the atomic level.

The result was so fundamental and astounding that the modern physicist Planck, Einstein, Louis de Broglie, and Schrödinger could not believe it completely. Born blamed their averseness for not receiving the Nobel Prize until three decades which is till 1954.

Also Check Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz: Early Life, Career, Legacy And Death>>

Born being in Gottingen let many American physicists visit the place to learn from him. There were lots of students who earned the Ph.D. degree assisted by Born. Walter Heitler was Born’s assistant who completed his habilitation under him in 1929. He even produced students Delbruck and Goeppert-Mayer who won Nobel Prizes.

By 1928 Born was exhausted by his work that he gave up on atomic research and started working on Principles of Optics. In May 1933, he had to leave Germany when Hitler came to power. The Professor and his family moved to England and took a temporary lectureship at Cambridge in South Tirol.

He got the citizenship of Britain in 1939 and remained in Edinburgh till he was retired in 1953. He started working on his two books which became classics when he moved to England.

The books are ‘The Atomic Theory” published in 1935 and ‘The Restless Universe‘ published in 1936. He was invited to India by Sir C.V. Raman who was a Nobel laureate physicist. Still, after six months they went to Edinburgh, where Born became Professor of a natural philosopher of physics.

Awards and Honors

Max Born was a Nobel prize winner. He won the prize in 1954 along with W. Bothe for the fundamental research in quantum mechanics and his interpretation of the wavefunction. Besides he received continuous awards and honors from 1934 till 2017 even after his death.

He received Stokes Medal of Cambridge in 1934, Fellow of the Royal Society in 1939, Macdougall-Brisbane Prize of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Gunning Victoria Jubilee Prize of the Royal Society of Edinburg in 1945, Max Planck Medaille in 1948, Hughes Medal of the Royal Society of London in 1950 and Honorary citizen of the town of Gottingen in 1953.

Max Born Medal
Max Born Medal

The Max Born Medal and Prize was founded in 1972 by the German Physical Society and the British Institute of Physics in German-Jewish Physicist honor. This award is designed to recognize the remarkable contribution to physics and given to physicists of German and UK or Ireland respectively.

The award is 3000 Euros and a silver medal, which is 6cm in diameter and 0.5cm thick. At one face of the medal engraved detail of Born and the other contains his equation, the organizer’s name, and the year and name of the winner on the rim.

The Max Born Institute for Nonlinear Optics and Short Pulse Spectroscopy is funded by the German federal government and the German States. It is located in Berlin, Germany, and the institute is running in honor of the physicist Born in 1991. It is a nonprofit research institute consisting of 180 employees.


The German-Jewish physicist made a vital contribution to modern theoretical physics. The most substantial influence he did on science was demonstrating the inherently probabilistic nature of the basic law of quantum mechanics and optics. During his career time wrote many classic books on physics like ‘The Atomic Theory‘ and ‘The Restless Universe‘.

Born spent 17 years in Edinburgh where he collaged his achievements in three books. They were ‘On the lattice dynamics of crystals, a new enlarged version of Principles of Optics and Natural Philosophy of Cause and Chance. In 1968, he wrote an autobiography ‘My Life and My Views‘ in detail about his physics role.

After World War II other scientists suggested he update and rewrite his work ‘Principles of Optics‘ in English. He got a personal assistant, Wolf to assist him with the writing and got live in 1959.

Personal Life of Max Born

In 1912 Born met Hedwig Ehrenberg in Gottingen. He was being the daughter of a Law professor from Leipzig University and a friend of Iris, daughter of Carl Runge. Her father was from a Jewish background. Both Born and his sister Kathe became practicing Lutheran when they got married.

He got married to Hedwig Martha Ehrenberg on August 02nd, 1913 having the garden ceremony. The same pastor who performed his wedding baptized him as Lutheran in 1914. However, the physicist was not a very religious person and did not regard religious professions and churches as important.

Max Born with his fellow friends
Max Born with his fellow friends

They got three children. They bore two daughters Irene and Margarethe born in 1914 and 1915 respectively and Gustav, born in 1921. With his father-in-law, Victor Ehrenberg, and Hedwig’s maternal uncle, Rudolf Von Jhering he learned to write on the law.

Also Check: Hedy Lamarr: Early Life, Career, Films and Death>>

The physicist’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren were also becoming famous in different industries. This kept Born’s name alive. Irene got a daughter, Olivia Newton-John became a singer. Max Born (Fellini Satyricon) was his grandson who was an actor.

His great-grandchildren are songwriter Brett Goldsmith, singer Tottie Goldsmith, racing car driver, Emerson Newton-John and singer Chloe Rose Lattanzi.


The German physicist and mathematician, famous for his quantum mechanics, died on January 05th, 1970 in Gottingen, Germany at 87.

Net Worth of Max Born

The German physicist who let us understand the science related to the atom and his contribution to quantum physics today enjoy our tea with a piece of toasted bread. Born estimated net worth is $6 Million.

Max Born Quotes

  • If God has made the world a perfect mechanism, He has at least conceded so much to our imperfect intellect that in order to predict little parts of it, we need not solve innumerable differential equations, but can use dice with fair success.
  • Intellect distinguishes between the possible and the impossible; reason distinguishes between the sensible and the senseless. Even the possible can be senseless.
  • I am now convinced that theoretical physics is actually philosophy.
  • The belief that there is only one truth, and that oneself is in possession of it, is the root of all evil in the world.
  • I believe there is no philosophical high-road in science, with epistemological signposts. No, we are in a jungle and find our way by trial and error, building our road behind us as we proceed.
  • We need to make a world in which fewer children are born, and in which we take better care of them.
  • The human race has today the means for annihilating itself–either in a fit of complete lunacy, i.e., in a big war…or by the careless handling of atomic technology, through a slow process of poisoning and of deterioration in its genetic structure.


1. Who was Max Born?

Max Born was a German physicist and mathematician who was instrumental in the development of quantum mechanics.

2. What did Max Born invent?

Max Born also made contributions to solid-state physics and optics and supervised the work of a number of notable physicists in the 1920s and 1930s.

3. What is Max Born famous for?

Max Born is most famous for his work on quantum mechanics, especially his realization that the wave function can be interpreted as the probability amplitude of finding a particle at a specific point in space at a specific moment in time.

4. What was Max Born’s education?

As a child, Max Born was tutored at his home because of his bad health before he attended school. Max studied physics and mathematics at universities in Breslau, Heidelberg, Zürich, and Göttingen. He also received a doctorate at Göttingen in 1907.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Next Post

David Baltimore: Bio, American Biologist & Nobel Prize Winner

Tue Feb 16 , 2021
David Baltimore an American Biologist born on March 07th, 1938, went to high school at the Jackson Memorial Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, where his interest in Biology emerged. His first research there and connection with research biologists at work turn him to be a renowned Biologist. Besides being a […]
David Baltimore