Niels Bohr was born in Copenhagen, Denmark on October 7, 1885. His father was a professor of physiology at the Copenhagen University and nurtured Niels' mind from an early age.
Niels studied at the Gammelholm Grammar School, graduating in 1903. He immediately began studying at the Copenhagen University, where he came under the guidance of Professor C. Christiansen, a well known physicist. Niels earned his Master's degree in 1909 and his Doctorate in 1911.
During his time as a student at the University, he received a gold medal from the Academy of Sciences in Copenhagen for his research in surface tension created by oscillating fluid jets. His work was published in a popular scientific journal, Transactions of the Royal Society, in 1908. His later work quickly turned from practical to theoretical, with his Doctoral Dissertation on the properties of metals using electron theory.
In 1911, he was in Cambridge, where he worked under J.J. Thompson in the Cavendish Laboratory. In 1912, he moved to Manchester, where he worked in Rutherford's laboratory. During his time there, he published a paper on the absorption of alpha rays, which was published in Philosophical Magazine in 1913. He also began studying the structure of atoms using Planck's Quantum Theory. He eventually thought of a structure of the atom that involved atomic orbitals, an idea that is still used today and made him well known.
In 1912, he married his wife, Margrethe Norlund, who he considered an ideal companion. He fathered six children, two of whom died. His four remaining children are employed as doctors, engineers, physicists, and lawyers.
From 1913 to 1914, he served as a capable lecturing professor at Copenhagen University. He took up a similar position at Victoria University in Manchester, England, from 1914 to 1916. In 1916, he received the appointment of Professor of Theoretical Physics at Copenhagen University, where an Institute for Theoretical Physics was established specially for him.
In 1922, Bohr was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work on finding the structure of the atom. He continued his research, focusing on the contents of the atomic nuclei, as well as the transmutation and disintegration of atoms. In 1936, he established the idea that the size and strength of regions in which nuclear reactions take place allow the transition processes to be described in a more classical manner than that of atoms. Bohr also produced a number of writings, including some volumes on how changes in physics affected all domains of human knowledge.
After the Nazis occupied Denmark, Bohr escaped through Sweden, spending the last part of the war moving between England and the United States. During the war he worked on the Atomic Energy Project, which helped advance the usage of nuclear fission for power generation. He also worked on developing peaceful applications for atomic physics and finding solutions to political problems resulting from the possession of nuclear arms.
In the last years of his life, Bohr focused on studying molecular biology, a relatively new field at the time. He remained alert and was able to continue his studies despite his old age. He died on November 18, 1962 in Copenhagen.