Bohr's found a clear direction when he met Ernest Rutherford, a professor of physics at the University of Manchester, where Bohr soon joined Rutherford's group. Here, starting around 1912, he began work on some of his most important contributions to quantum physics. He was among the first, for example, to recognize the significance of encircling electrons and their relationship to the atomic nucleus. Moreover, he began to refine Rutherford's model of the atom, which was mechanically unstable, by finding explanations in the undeveloped quantum theories of Max Planck. Bohr's proposal that the atom existed only in a discrete set of energy states still remains relevant, known as the Bohr atomic model, though it has been replaced scientifically. In 1916, Bohr returned to the University of Copenhagen to assume the Chair of Theoretical Physics, which had been created for him. Here, over the next few years,
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