Niels Bohr’s fascination with Yin and Yang

Niels_BohrNiels Bohr (1885-1962) was one of the greatest physicists of the 20’th century. I cannot adequately describe his contributions to physics in a short post.

I recommend the Niels Bohr article at the site.

The SEP article titled “Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics” also provides good information.

Not many people know that Einstein and Bohr both received a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922 but they did not share the prize. Einstein’s Nobel Prize was actually the 1921 prize but it was announced in 1922.  Interestingly, Einstein did not show up for the Nobel Prize ceremony in December 1922. He was traveling in Asia.

I recently learned about Bohr’s fascination with the yin/yang symbol. Bohr introduced the complementarity principle to Quantum Mechanics. He must have been inspired by the yin/yang philosophy as well as the philosophies of Kant and Hegel.

In 1947, King of Denmark Frederick IX announced that he was conferring the Order of the Elephant on Bohr. Bohr designed his own coat of arms which featured a symbol of yin and yang and a motto in Latin: contraria sunt complementa, “opposites are complementary.”


Bohr’s bust at the University of Copenhagen also features the yin/yang symbol



About Suresh Emre

I have worked as a physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the Superconducting Super Collider Laboratory. I am a volunteer for the Renaissance Universal movement. My main goal is to inspire the reader to engage in Self-discovery and expansion of consciousness.
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