Niels Bohr was born on October, 7 1885 in Copenhagen. His father, Christian Bohr, was a professor of physiology at the University of Copenhagen and his mother, Ellen Adler Bohr, came from a wealthy family that was known in Danish banking and political circles.
Niels was good his hands and liked working with both wood and mechanical things. He repaired the family watches and everything else that needed to be repaired. If the there was a broken bicycle around, Niels was ready to fix it. When the owner began to protest and mention a bicycle mechanic, his father always said: “Let the boy be. He knows what he’s doing.”
In 1903, Niels Bohr began to study at the University of Copenhagen. In his first year, he registered for mathematics with the astronomer Professor T. N. Thiele. Along with his brother Harald Bohr, he participated in a small group of students who met several times a month to discuss scientific questions.
On top of being a brilliant student, Neils was a great athlete and excelled in soccer; although not as much as his brother who was a member of a silver medal winning Olympic team in 1908.
A few years before Niels Bohr began to study physics, the physicist J. J. Thomson had discovered the existence of electrons and Niels Bohr immersed himself with great interest in his articles. He decided that his thesis for his master’s degree would deal with the different physical properties of metals.
In the summer of 1909 Niels Bohr received his master’s degree. He took a few days holiday with some good friends before he began work on his doctorate.
During this time he he met his future wife Margrethe.
Niels Bohr defended his doctoral thesis at the start of 1911, and he and Margrethe got engaged later that summer.
After obtaining his doctorate in physics at the University of Copenhagen in 1911, Niels Bohr received a scholarship from the Carlsberg Foundation to study abroad. His doctoral thesis was “The Electron Theory of Metals”, it was only natural for him to study under J. J. Thomson.
Six months later, in early April 1912, he was invited to Manchester by Ernest Rutherford to continue his studies there. A year earlier, Rutherford and his colleagues had discovered that the atom consisted of a positively charged nucleus, containing almost all of the atom’s mass, and negatively charged electrons orbiting the nucleus at a relatively great distance. This became the basis for Niels Bohr’s breakthrough as a physicist, as he realized that such a system would be unstable according to classical physics and that radical solution was required.