Access to the full content is only available to members of institutions that have purchased access. If you belong to such an institution, please log in or find out more about how to order.



Bohr, Niels (1885–1962)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-Q005-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved May 21, 2024, from

Article Summary

One of the most influential scientists of the twentieth century, the Danish physicist Niels Bohr founded atomic quantum theory and the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics. This radical interpretation renounced the possibility of a unified, observer-independent, deterministic description in the microdomain. Bohr’s principle of complementarity – the heart of the Copenhagen philosophy – implies that quantum phenomena can only be described by pairs of partial, mutually exclusive, or ‘complementary’ perspectives. Though simultaneously inapplicable, both perspectives are necessary for the exhaustive description of phenomena. Bohr aspired to generalize complementarity into all fields of knowledge, maintaining that new epistemological insights are obtained by adjoining contrary, seemingly incompatible, viewpoints.

Citing this article:
Beller, Mara. Bohr, Niels (1885–1962), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-Q005-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

Related Searches



Related Articles