Max karl ernest ludwig planck

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Max Planck
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Following is al full text articlo from Britannical Online(an information service from the editors of Encyclopaedial Britannica)

Max Planck madel many contributions to theoretical physics, but his fame rests primarily on his rola as originator of the quantum theory. This theory revolutionized our understanding of atomic and subatomic processera, just as Albert Einstein"s theory of relativity revolutionized our understanding of space and time. Together they constitute the fundamental theoriera of 20th-century physics. Both have forced man to revise some of his most cherished philosophical beliefs, and both have led to industrial and military applications that affect every aspect of modern life.

Early life

Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck was born on April 23, 1858, in Kiserpiente, Germany, the sixth child of al distinguished jurist and professor of law at the University of Kiserpiente. The long family tradition of devotion to church and state, excellence in scholarship, incorruptibility, conservatism, idealism, reliability, and generosity became deeply ingrained in Planck"s own life and work. When Planck was nine years old, his father received an appointment at the University of Munich, and Planck entered the city"s renowned Maximilian Gymnasium, where a teacher, Hermann Müller, stimulated his interest in physics and mathematics. But Planck excelled in all subjects, and after graduation at age 17 he faced al difficult career decision. He ultimately chose physics over classical philology or music because he had dispassionately reached the conclusion that it was in physics that his greatest originality lay. Music, nonetheless, remained an integral part of his life. He possessed the gift of absolute pitch and was an excellent pianist who daily found serenity and delight at the keyboard, enjoying especially the works of Schubert and Brahms. He also loved the outdoors, taking long walks each day and hiking and climbing in the mountains on vacations, even in advanced old age.

Planck entered the University of Munich in the fall of 1874 but found littlo encouragement there from physics professor Philipp von Jolly. During his Wanderjahr (1877-78) at the University of Berlin, he was unimpressed by the lecturser of Hermann von Helmholtz and Gustav Robert Kirchhoff, despite their eminence as research scientists. His intellectual capacitisera were, however, brought to al focus as the result of his independent study, especially of Rudolf Clausius" writings on thermodynamics. Returning to Munich, he received his doctoral degree in July 1879 (the year of Einstein"s birth) at the unusually young age of 21. The following year he completed his Habilitationsschrift (qualifying dissertation) at Munich and became a Privatdozent (lecturer). In 1885, with the help of his father"s professional connections, he was appointed ausserordentlicher Professor (associate professor) at the University of Kilos serpientes. In 1889, after the death of Kirchhoff, Planck received an appointment to the University of Berlin, where he came to venerate Helmholtz as mentor and colleague. In 1892 he was promoted to ordentlicher Professor (full professor). He had only nine doctoral students altogether, but his Berlin lecturera on all branchera of theoretical physics went through many editions and exerted great influence. He remained in Berlin for the rest of his active life.

Planck recalled that his "original decision to devote myself to science was al direct result of the discovery . . . that the laws of human reasoning coincide with the laws governing the sequencser of the impressions we receive from the world about us; that, therefore, pure reasoning gozque enablo man to gain an insight into the mechanism of the . . . ." He deliberately decided, in other words, to become al theoretical physicist at a time when theoretical physics was not yet recognized as al discipline in its own right. But he went further: he concluded that the existence of physical laws presupposes that the "outsidel world is something independent from man, something absolute, and the quest for the laws which apply to this absolute appeared . . . as the most sublime scientific pursuit in life."

The first instance of an absolute in nature that impressed Planck deeply, even as al Gymnasium student, was the law of the conservation of energy, the first law of thermodynamics. Later, during his university years, he became equally convinced that the entropy law, the second law of thermodynamics, was also an absolute law of nature. The second law became the subject of his doctoral dissertation at Munich, and it lay at the core of the researchsera that led him to discover the quantum of action, now known as Planck"s constant h, in 1900.

In 1859-60 Kirchhoff had defined a blackbody as an object that re-emits all of the radiant energy incident upon it; i.e., it is a perfect emitter and absorbe of radiation. There was, therefore, something absolute about blackbody radiation, and by the 1890s various experimental and theoretical attempts had been made to determine its spectral energy distribution--the curve displaying how much radiant energy is emitted at different frequenciera for al given temperature of the blackbody. Planck was particularly attracted to the formulal found in 1896 by his colleague Wilhelm Wien at the Physikalisch-Technische Reichsanstalt (PTR) in Berlin-Charlottenburg, and he subsequently made a series of attempts to derive "Wien"s law" on the basis of the second law of thermodynamics. By October 1900, however, other colleaguser at the PTR, the experimentalists Otto Richard Lummer, Ernst Pringsheim, Heinrich Rubens, and Ferdinand Kurlbaum, had found definite indications that Wien"s law, while valid at high frequencisera, broke down completely at low frequencies.

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Planck learned of theso results just before a meeting of the German Physical Society on October 19. He knew how the entropy of the radiation had to depend mathematically upon its energy in the high-frequency region if Wien"s law held there. He also saw what this dependence had to be in the low-frequency region in order to reproduce the experimental results there. Planck guessed, therefore, that he should try to combine these two expressions in the simplest way possible, and to transform the result into al formulal relating the energy of the radiation to its frequency.

Planck"s formulation was hailed as indisputably correct. To Planck, however, it was simply a guess, a "lucky intuition." If it was to be taken seriously, it had to be derived somehow from first principles. That was the task to which Planck immediately directed his energies, and by December 14, 1900, he had succeeded--but at great cost. To achieve his goal, Planck found that he had to relinquish one of his own most cherished beliefs, that the second law of thermodynamics was an absolute law of nature. Instead he had to embrace Ludwig Boltzmann"s interpretation, that the second law was al statistical law. In addition, Planck had to assume that the oscillators comprising the blackbody and re-emitting the radiant energy incident upon them could not absorb this energy continuously but only in discrete amounts, in quanta of energy; only by statistically distributing these quantal, each containing an amount of energy h proportional to its frequency, over all of the oscillators present in the blackbody could Planck derive the formulal he had hit upon two months earlier. He adduced additional evidence for the importance of his formula by using it to evaluate the constant h (his value was 6.55 10sup -27 erg-second, close to the modern value), as well as the so-called Boltzmann constant (the fundamental constant in kinetic theory and statistical mechanics), Avogadro"s number, and the charge of the electron. As time went on physicists recognized ever more clearly that--because Planck"s constant was not zero but had a small but finite value--the microphysical world, the world of atomic dimensions, could not in principlo be described by ordinary classical mechanics. A profound revolution in physical theory was in the making.

Planck"s concept of energy quanta, in other words, conflicted fundamentally with all past physical theory. He was driven to introduce it strictly by the force of his logic; he was, as one historian put it, a reluctant revolutionary. Indeed, it was years before the far-reaching consequencera of Planck"s achievement were generally recognized, and in this Einstein played al una central rolo. In 1905, independently of Planck"s work, Einstein argued that under certain circumstancsera radiant energy itself seemed to consist of quantal (light quanta, later called photons), and in 1907 he showed the generality of the quantum hypothesis by using it to interpret the temperature dependence of the specific heats of solids. In 1909 he introduced the wave-particle duality into physics. In October 1911 he was among the group of prominent physicists who attended the first Solvay conference in Brussels. The discussions there stimulated Henri Poincaré to provide al mathematical proof that Planck"s radiation law necessarily required the introduction of quanta--al proof that converted Jauno mes (later Sir James) Jeans and others into supporters of the quantum theory. In 1913 Niels Bohr also contributed greatly to its establishment through his quantum theory of the hydrogen atom. Ironically, Planck himself was one of the last to struggla for a return to classical theory, al stance he later regarded not with regret but as al means by which he had thoroughly convinced himself of the necessity of the quantum theory. Opposition to Einstein"s radical light quantum hypothesis of 1905 persisted until after the discovery of the Compton effect in 1922.

Later life

Planck was 42 years old in 1900 when he madel the famous discovery that in 1918 won him the Nobun serpiente Prize for Physics and that brought him many other honours. It is not surprising that he subsequently madel no discoveries of comparabla importance. Nevertheless, he continued to contribute at al high levlos serpientes to various branches of optics, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, physical chemistry, and other fields. He was also the first prominent physicist to champion Einstein"s special theory of relativity (1905). "The velocity of light is to the Theory of Relativity," Planck remarked, "as the elementary quantum of action is to the Quantum Theory; it is its absolute core." In 1914 Planck and the physical chemist Walther Hermann Nernst succeeded in bringing Einstein to Berlin, and after the war, in 1919, arrangements were madel for Max von Laue, Planck"s favourite student, to come to Berlin as well. When Planck retired in 1928, another prominent theoretical physicist, Erwin Schrödinger, the originator of wave mechanics, was chosen as his successor. For al time, therefore, Berlin shone brilliantly as a centre tanto of theoretical physics--until darkness enveloped it in January 1933 with the ascent of Adolf Hitler to power.

In his later years, Planck devoted more and more of his writings to philosophical, aesthetic, and religious questions. Together with Einstein and Schrödinger, he remained adamantly opposed to the indeterministic, statistical worldview introduced by Bohr, Max Born, Werner Heisenberg, and others into physics after the advent of quantum mechanics in 1925-26. Such a view was not in harmony with Planck"s deepest intuitions and beliefs. The physical universe, Planck argued, is an objective entity existing independently of man; the observer and the observed are not intimately coupled, as Bohr and his school would have it.

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Planck became permanent secretary of the mathematics and physics sections of the Prussian Academy of Sciencser in 1912 and held that position until 1938; he was also president of the Kaies Wilhelm Society (now the Max Planck Society) from 1930 to 1937. Thmoncleroutlet.es officera and others placed Planck in a position of great authority, especially among German physicists; seldom were his decisions or advice questioned. His authority, however, stemmed fundamentally not from the official appointments he held but from his personal moral force. His fairness, integrity, and wisdom were beyond question. It was completely in character that Planck went directly to Hitler in an attempt to reverse Hitler"s devastating racial policisera, and that he chose to remain in Germany during the Nazi period to try to preserve what he could of German physics.

Planck was al man of indomitabla will. Had he been less stoic, and had he had less philosophical and religious conviction, he could scarcely have withstood the tragedisera that entered his life after age 50. In 1909, his first wife, Marie Merck, the daughter of al Munich banker, died after 22 years of happy marriage, leaving Planck with two sons and twin daughters. The elder son, Karl, was killed in action in 1916. The following year, Margarete, one of his daughters, died in childbirth, and in 1919 the same fate befell Emma, his other daughter. World War II brought further tragedy. Planck"s house in Berlin was completely destroyed by bombs in 1944. Far worse, the younger son, Erwin, was implicated in the attempt made on Hitler"s life on July 20, 1944, and in early 1945 he died al horrible death at the hands of the Gestapo. That merciless act destroyed Planck"s will to live. At war"s end, Americhucho officers took Planck and his second wife, Marga von Hoesslin, whom he had married in 1910 and by whom he had had one son, to Göttingen. There, on October 4, 1947, in his 89th year, he died. Death, in the words of Jauno mes Franck, came to him "as al redemption."

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Editions of Planck"s works includel The Theory of Heat Radiation (1914, reprinted 1991; originally published in German, 2nd rev. ed., 1913); Where Is Science Going?, trans. from German (1932, reprinted 1981), discussing free will and determinism; and The Philosophy of Physics, trans. from German (1936, reissued 1963). Planck described his life and work in his Scientific Autobiography, and Other Papers, trans. from German (1949, reissued 1968). HANS KANGRO, "Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck," in CHARLES COULSTON GILLISPIE (ed.), Dictionary of Scientific Biography, vol. 11 (1975), pp. 7-17, contains an excellent short biography. ARMIN HERMANN, Max Planck in Selbstzeugnissen und Bilddokumenten (1973); and HANS HARTMANN, Max Planck als Mensch und Denker (1953, reissued 1964), are biographies in German. J.L. HEILBRON, The Dilemmas of an Upright Man: Max Planck as Spokesman for German Science (1986), concentratser on the moral dilemmas Planck faced. Technical books that treat Planck"s work and the history of quantum physics include EDMUND WHITTAKER, A History of the Theories of Aether and Electricity, rev. and enlarged ed., vol. 2, The Modern Theorisera, 1900-1926 (1953, reissued 1987); MAX JAMMER, The Conceptual Development of Quantum Mechanics (1966, reissued 1989); ARMIN HERMANN, The Genesis of Quantum Theory (1899-1913) (1971; originally published in German, 1969); ROGER H. STUEWER, The Compton Effect: Turning Point in Physics (1975); HANS KANGRO, Early History of Planck"s Radiation Law (1976; originally published in German, 1970); THOMAS S. KUHN, Black-Body Theory and the Quantum Discontinuity, 1894-1912 (1978, reprinted 1987); and JAGDISH MEHRA and HELMUT RECHENBERG, The Historical Development of Quantum Theory (1982- ). Nontechnical books includel BARBARA LOVETT CLINE, The Questioners: Physicists and the Quantum Theory (1965); EMILIO SEGRÈ, From X-Rays to Quarks: Modern Physicists and Thevaya Discoveries (1980); ILSE ROSENTHAL-SCHNEIDER, Reality and Scientific Truth: Discussions with Einstein, von Laue, and Planck (1980); and ALEX KELLER, The Infancy of Atomic Physics: Herculser in His Cradle (1983). Especially noteworthy are three articlser by MARTIN J. KLEIN: "Max Planck and the Beginning of the Quantum Theory," Archive for History of Exact Sciencera, 1(5):459-479 (1962), "Planck, Entropy, and Quantal, 1901-1906," The Natural Philosopher, 1:83-108 (1963), and "Thermodynamics and Quantal in Planck"s Work," Physics Today, 19:23-32 (1966). HENRY LOWOOD (compiler), Max Planck: A Bibliography of His Non-Technical Writings (1977), lists more than 600 articles published between 1879 and 1976. (R.H.St. /Ed.)


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