Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck (born: April 23, 1858 / died: October 4, 1947)
|Max Planck was a German physicist and Nobel laureate, who was
the originator of the quantum theory.
Planck was born in Kiel on April 23, 1858, and educated at the universities of Munich and Berlin. He was appointed professor of physics at the University of Kiel in 1885, and from 1889 until 1928 filled the same position at the University of Berlin. In 1900 Planck postulated that energy is radiated in small, discrete units, which he called quanta. Developing his quantum theory further, he discovered a universal constant of nature, which came to be known as Planck's constant.
|Planck's law states that
the energy of each quantum is equal to the frequency of the radiation multiplied
by the universal constant. His discoveries did not, however, supersede the
theory that radiation from light or matter is emitted in waves. Physicists
now believe that electromagnetic radiation combines the properties of both
waves and particles. Planck's discoveries, which were later verified by other
scientists, were the basis of an entirely new field of physics, known as
quantum mechanics, and provided a foundation for research in such fields as
Planck received many honors for his work, notably the 1918 Nobel
Prize in physics. In 1930 Planck was elected president of the Kaiser Wilhelm
Society for the Advancement of Science, the leading association of German
scientists, which was later renamed the Max Planck Society. He endangered
himself by openly criticizing the Nazi regime that came to power in Germany
in 1933 and was forced out of the society, but became president again after
World War II. He died at Göttingen on October 4, 1947. Among his writings
that have been translated into English are Introduction to Theoretical Physics
(5 volumes, 1932-33) and Philosophy of Physics (1936).