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The Niels Bohr Institute — historical pictures of the University of Copenhagen

The Niels Bohr Institute began as this single building but has grown to include ten buildings and more than 1,000 international students and staff

[This article has been updated after being originally published in 2016]

Between 1916 and 1918, Niels Bohr, the Danish physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921 for his work in atomic structure and quantum theory, pressed the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) and the Danish government to construct a new, more modern institute for physics.

This photo was taken shortly after the building was completed in 1921. Although a tree now stands where the original photo was taken, our photo reporter was still able to capture the building from nearly the same angle, but from the opposite direction.

In 1916, Niels Bohr had just recently been appointed professor of theoretical physics at UCPH, but he was still able to get the construction of the building approved by 1918.

Growth and collaboration

Today called the Niels Bohr Institute, the institute has grown and spread to encompass ten buildings and over 1,000 staff member and students, whose areas of research include quantum physics, particle physics, nanophysics, biophysics, geophysics and astronomy.

Niels Bohr loved the idea of international collaboration in the science realm. The new institute provided a platform for this collaboration, and many international researchers came to Copenhagen to exchange ideas and theories.

In 1929, Niels Bohr and his brother, mathematician Harald Bohr, worked together to create Denmark’s first Institute for Mathematics right next to the Niels Bohr Institute, allowing for collaboration between mathematicians and physicists.