The Biography of Max Planck (1858-1947), a German theoretical physicist best known for his work in quantum mechanics.
He is regarded as one of the most influential scientists of the 20th century.
Also, his contributions to physics laid the foundation for many of the technological advancements we enjoy today.
Read Also: The Biography of Albert Einstein
Early Life and Education of Max Planck
Max Planck was born in Kiel, Germany, on April 23, 1858, into a family of academics.
His father, Johann Julius Wilhelm Planck, was a law professor, and his grandfather, Gustav Kirchhoff, was a famous physicist.
Planck showed an early interest in science and mathematics and was a top student in his class.
He studied physics at the University of Munich, receiving his Ph.D. in 1880 at 22.
Academic Career of Max Planck
After completing his Ph.D., Planck worked as a lecturer at the University of Munich for several years before moving to the University of Kiel, where he was appointed a full theoretical physics professor in 1885.
In 1889, he accepted a position at the University of Berlin, where remained for the rest of his career.
Planck’s early research focused on thermodynamics, the study of heat and its relationship to energy.
He made significant contributions to this field, including developing the concept of entropy, which measures the amount of energy in a system that is unavailable for useful work.
Planck’s work in thermodynamics led him to develop the concept of blackbody radiation, which is the radiation emitted by a perfect absorber of all electromagnetic radiation.
This work would ultimately lead him to his most famous contribution to physics, the development of quantum mechanics.
Read Also: The Biography of James Watt
In 1900, Planck made a groundbreaking discovery that would change the course of physics forever.
He found that the energy of electromagnetic radiation, such as light, was not continuous but came in discrete packets or quanta.
This discovery was a significant departure from classical physics, which had dominated the field for centuries, and laid the foundation for developing quantum mechanics.
Planck’s discovery of the quantum nature of energy led to a paradigm shift in physics as scientists began to explore the strange and counterintuitive world of quantum mechanics.
This field of study would revolutionize our understanding of the physical world.
It would lead to the development of many technologies we use today, including transistors, lasers, and computers.
Planck continued to work on quantum mechanics throughout his career, making significant contributions to the field.
In 1918, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on blackbody radiation and the discovery of the quantum nature of energy.
Read Also: The Biography of Gregor Mendel
Legacy of Max Planck
This biography of Max Planck will be incomplete without stating that Max Planck is widely regarded as one of the most important scientists of the 20th century.
His contributions to physics laid the foundation for developing quantum mechanics, which has profoundly impacted our understanding of the physical world.
His work has also led to many technological advancements, including the transistor development, which is the foundation of modern electronics.
Planck was a profoundly religious man who believed science and religion could coexist.
He once said, “Religion belongs to the realm that is inviolable before the law of causation and therefore closed to science.”
He also believed that science should be pursued for its own sake, without regard for practical applications or commercial gain.
In addition to his scientific work, Planck was a respected statesman. He served as president of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, a scientific research organization in Germany, from 1930 to 1937.
He was also an outspoken critic of the Nazi regime and refused to collaborate with the regime during World War II.