The Quantum Theory Is Born – 12/14/1900

World History |

When thinking about anything that involved X-rays or radiation, it is hard to imagine if scientists were aware of the benefits and hazards of these energies or how to experiment with them safely. Yet, since scientists know of their existence as well as how to use them safely, it is only logical that others before made the dangerous but exciting leap into the unknown in the attempt to acquire knowledge.

One such individual existed over a century. German physicist Max Planck, whose groundbreaking observations of radiation and how it effects a substance known as “blackbody” is published on December 14th, 1900; the quantum theory in relation to modern physics is born.

Planck conducted physical experiments in order to demonstrate how energy, in specific instances, can display characteristics of what we know as physical matter. Classical physics has its’ own theories such as energy is primarily an ongoing wave-like occurrence, separate from physical matter’s characteristics. According to Planck’s theory, he believed that radiant energy consists of components that are particle-like; this is what he refers to as a “quantum.” Before this theory came into existence, there were different things that science had not previously known regarding solid matter and rays of light.

Now that Planck has proven what is now called the “quantum theory” in a way that fellow physicists understand, the theory has assisted to explain prior unexplained natural phenomena such as the nature of the absorption of light in regards to the atomic level and how heat behaves in solid matter. Several years later, Planck was rewarded for his achievement by receiving the Nobel Prize for his efforts regarding blackbody radiation.

Thanks to Planck’s hard work and discovery, other scientists looked to advance his “quantum theory” to the next level. Scientists such as Paul M. Dirac, Albert Einstein, Erwin Schrodinger, Niels Bohr and Louis de Broglie were ultimately able to come up with the development of what is known as quantum mechanics. This represents a mathematical application of Palnck’s “quantum theory” that it dictates energy is both a wave and matter that relies on specific variables. 

Therefore, quantum mechanics leads the way for taking a probabilistic look at nature, which would take an aggressive manner contrasting with mechanics from a classical standpoint, which all exact properties that make up an object are, in theory, countable. Presently, thanks to the efforts of Planck and his work, the combination of quantum mechanics with Einstein’s work on the theory of relativity has become the basis of what is considered to be modern physics.

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Chakara Rosa


Chakara can take on any story given and get it done within the day. She is a vital asset to her colleagues as she is always willing to assist in any way she can to help the team get deadlines in on time. She writes for our history department but has been known to take on other stories and write the heck out of them.