NEAR POST – Hipster goalies – Niels & Harald Bohr

From Pat’s Blog, “The Distracted Goalie“:


Harald Bohr

“The great Physicist, Niels Bohr, was brother to an outstanding mathematician, Harald who founded the field of almost periodic functions. In their youth both were very good athletes, with Harald clearly the more dedicated sportsman. Harald had been a member of the Danish National Football team while still a student and had earned a silver medal as such in the 1908 Olympic games; the first time the Olympic games had football. Harald scored two goals in the opening game defeating the French nine-zero. Denmark lost to the UK in the final game. He was such an accomplished football player that it is said when he defended his PhD thesis there were more football fans in the audience than mathematicians.


Niels Bohr, playing football

Brother Niels was also a good athlete, but often seemed to have his focus somewhere other than sports. Both brothers played several games for the Copenhagen-based Akademisk Boldklub, with Niels in goal. The story is told that during one game when almost all the action was happening in the attacking half for his club, a long clearing kick from the other end of the field began to roll toward his goal. Niels stood near the goalpost and seemed unaware of the ball rolling toward his goal with players rushing in from many yards behind it. Alerted by the screaming crowd behind him, Niels made the save and cleared away the threat.

After the game his explanation was that he had been distracted by a maths problem and was carrying out calculations on the edge of the goal post.

Apparently he kept his love for the game.  The photo at the top shows Niels Bohr with  a group that is unidentified, but he looks to me to be the one handling the ball.  A goal-keeper to the end, it seems.”

From the peerless blog, Put Niels In Goal, “Akademisk Boldklub vs Brønsøj – a visit, a match, and a conversation

“This blog is named after a Danish physicist, Nobel laureate, and erstwhile goalkeeper Niels Bohr. Bohr won the Nobel Prize for physics in 1922 for pioneering work on atomic structure, positing that atoms orbiting a nucleus had discrete energetic properties and could jump between orbits.”


The Boring World of Niels Bohr

He also made an appearance in an episode of The Simpsons, called ‘I Am Furious (Yellow)’, itself a reference to The Fall album entitled ‘I Am Kurious Oranj’:

From Wikipedia:

“[I Am Furious (Yellow)] references Danish physicist Niels Bohr. In his book What’s science ever done for us?: what The Simpsons can teach us about physics, robots, life and the universe, Paul Halpern wrote “In the episode […], one of Homer’s favorite TV shows is preempted by the program The Boring World of Niels Bohr. Homer is so upset that he clutches an ice-cream sandwich, aims it at the screen like it’s a remote control, squeezes out its contents, and splatters Bohr’s image. In contrast to Homer’s reaction, most physicists heap nothing but accolades upon Bohr, whose revolutionary ideas shaped the modern concept of the atom.”


Niels Bohr’s luxury mansion at the Carlsberg Brewery, 1963. Credit: CERN

Apparently, if you go to the Carlsberg factory in Copenhagen, you can get tours of Niels Bohr’s old house…

From Inside the Science Museum, the Science Museum Blog, “If Particle Physics Did Parties…

“The Danish beer giant was an unlikely benefactor of the Niels Bohr Institute – one of the great centres of theoretical physics research.

And Bohr himself even lived at the brewery’s “Honorary Residence” after winning the Nobel Prize, complete with a direct pipeline supplying free Carlsberg on tap! Just imagine what untold influence lager had on those groundbreaking discussions of quantum theory during Bohr’s thirty-year stay…”