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Tuesday, April 23, 2019
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Planck, Max (1858-1947):

Short Biography – Planck, Max (1858-1947):

Max Planck, born in Kiel, Germany, at the tender age of 16, entered the University of Munich; there he studied physics. In later life he gave his reason for choosing physics: “The outside world is something independent from man, something absolute, and the quest for the laws which apply to this absolute appeared to me as the most sublime scientific pursuit in life.” At the age of 21 years, Planck received a doctorate; his thesis being on the second law of thermodynamics. He then went on to teach, first at the University of Munich (1880), then University of Berlin (1889) where he stayed for 38 years until he retired in 1927. It was in 1900 that Planck set out a formula now known as Planck’s radiation formula, which formula, effectively renounced classical physics and introduced the quanta of energy. At first the theory met resistance, but, due to the successful work of Niels Bohr, the theory was to become generally accepted. Planck received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1918. (Interestingly, we read where Planck remained in Germany during World War II during which time he was to suffer from personal tragedy: his son, Erwin, was executed for plotting to assassinate Hitler; his house in Berlin was burned down in an air raid; and, in 1945, another son was executed after he was declared to be guilty of complicity in a plot to kill Hitler.)

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