Max Planck Essay

892 words - 4 pages

Max PlanckJustin ThomasPeriod 4Chemistry10/08/96On April 23, 1858 Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck was born in Kiel, Germany. He was the sixth child of a law professor at the University of Kiel. At the age of nine his interest in physics and mathematics was developed by his teacher Hermann Muller. When he graduated at the age of seventeen he decided to choose physics over music for his career. Although he is know for physics he was an exceptional pianist who had acquired the gift of being able to hear absolute pitch. His favorite works of music were known to be Schubert and Brahms. Entering the University of Munich in 1874 he got little inspiration and was unimpressed at the University of Berlin which was between the years of 1877 and 1878. He in turn did independent studies primarily on Rudolf Clausius' writings of thermodynamics which inspired him and in July 1879 he received his doctoral degree at the age of twenty-one. He became a lecturer at the University of Munich. His father helped him be promoted to associate professor at Kiel by means of professional connections. At the age of thirty he was promoted to full professor at the University of Berlin.After he decided to become a theoretical physicist he started a quest for absolute laws. His favorite absolute law was the law of the conservation of energy which was the first law of thermodynamics that stated that you could take any equal amount of energy and transform it into the same equal amount of energy ideally, meaning no energy was lost. The second law of thermodynamics led him to discover the quantum of action or Planck's constant h. How he came upon his formula for quantum mechanics well be explained as follows. Planck saw that blackbody radiation acted in an absolute sense because it was defined by Kirchhoff as a substance that could absorb almost all radiating energy and emit all that it had absorbed perfectly which is associated with the first law of thermodynamics. By using various experiments and theoretical failures many scientists tried to find the spectral energy distribution to try and draw a diagram of a curve that showed the amount of radiation given off at different frequencies for a blackbody with a given temperature. Then using Wien's law which worked out for high frequencies but didn't work for low, he saw a relationship with the mathematics of the entropy of the radiation in the high-frequency waves in correlation to the low frequency waves and he guessed if he combined the two in the simplest way that he would get a formula that...

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