An intellectual family in Northern Germany welcomed their youngest member on 23rd April 1858. Named Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck, this child would go on to revolutionize the world’s understanding of atomic and subatomic processes. Planck is regarded as The Father of Quantum Physics and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918.
Early on Planck, grew an interest in physics, especially the concept of energy conservation. In 1894 Planck started working on radiations emitted by a blackbody and this led to other discoveries, earning him the title of the father of Quantum physics.
Max Planck, through his work, found that energy is emitted by objects only in quantized form. This means atoms release energy in small bursts, not in one continuous flow. This laid the foundation of quantum mechanics and even led to major changes in our visualization of an atom.
One of the earliest scientists to recognize the merit of Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity was Max Planck. His support was key in getting Einstein’s new theories their deserved attention and acceptance in not only Germany but also the rest of the world. Apart from quantum physics, Planck was drawn to the piano as well. And he was exceptionally gifted in this field as well.
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Here are some quotes from the man himself, on the mysteries of the atom, our consciousness, and how we are united with the universe:
1. Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.
2. I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.
3. It is not the possession of truth, but the success which attends the seeking after it, that enriches the seeker and brings happiness to him.
4. Anybody who has been seriously engaged in scientific work of any kind realizes that over the entrance to the gates of the temple of science are written the words: ‘Ye must have faith.’
5. No burden is so heavy for a man to bear as a succession of happy days.
6. This is one of man’s oldest riddles. How can the independence of human volition be harmonized with the fact that we are integral parts of a universe which is subject to the rigid order of nature’s laws?
7. When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
8. Experiment is the only means of knowledge at our disposal. Everything else is poetry, imagination
9. Insight must precede application.
10. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force… We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter.
11. An experiment is a question which science poses to Nature and a measurement is the recording of Nature’s answer.
12. A scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.
13. The goal is nothing other than the coherence and completeness of the system not only in respect of all details, but also in respect of all physicists of all places, all times, all peoples, and all cultures.
14. Whence come I and whither go I? That is the great unfathomable question, the same for every one of us. Science has no answer to it.
15. It is not the possession of truth, but the success which attends the seeking after it, that enriches the seeker and brings happiness to him.
These interesting quotes from Max Planck surely give us a lot to think about!
Image credit: Transocean Berlin