April 28, 2006

Poor, Poor Max Planck

What a life. You found the field of quantum physics and this is the thanks you get?

After several happy years the Planck family was struck by a series of disasters: in October 1909 Marie Planck died, possibly from tuberculosis. In March 1911 Max Planck married his second wife, Marga von Hoesslin (1882-1948); in December his third son, Herrmann, was born.

During the First World War Planck's oldest son, Karl, was killed in action in Verdun, and Erwin had already in 1914 been taken prisoner by the French. Grete died in 1917 while giving birth to her first child; her sister lost her life two years later under the same circumstances, after marrying Grete's widower. Both granddaughters survived and were named after their mothers.
Planck endured all these losses with stoic submission to fate.

Finally in January 1945 Erwin, to whom Max Planck had been particularly close, was executed by the Nazis because of his participation in the failed attempt to assassinate Hitler in July 1944.

Planck was hands down one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century. He theorized that radiation could be released in quantums, or tiny packets, instead of the acceptable notion of

This lead directly into Einstein's explanation of light as a particle (photon) or as a wave. So, in quantum physics, radiation acts as both a particle and a wave, at the same time, and Planck helped bring this notion to the forefront.

Planck's constant, the h in E = hν (or 6.626 E-34 J -s), helps determine the relation of these energy packets to the frequency of radiation.

See? Get too smart and God will punish you.

Quote: Wikipedia

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