Max Planck - Revolutionary against his will

On 19th October 1900, a revolution in physics begins unnoticed. On this day, Max Planck presents a new radiation law. It describes the energy distribution of thermal radiation. Later it becomes clear that this law is incompatible with classical physics. It requires a revolution in the understanding of radiation and energy: radiation consists of energy packets, the quanta.

Planck is sceptical about the consequences of this revolution for a long time. He loves the tried and tested. Even political upheavals hardly shake his world view. Regardless of the system, science is always in the foreground for him. Planck also served it as a science organiser, for whom the self-government of science was important. After 1945, he became the namesake of the Max Planck Society.

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