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What was the impact of Plank's solution to the UVC?

  1. Apr 9, 2013 #1
    What was the impact of Max Plank's solution to the Ultraviolet Catastrophe on the Quantum Theory?
    Who do you think had a more significant impact, Plank of Einstein?
    Thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 9, 2013 #2


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    Hard question. I can't say :smile:.

    Planck's solution of the blackbody radiation problem (1900) is the start of Quantum Mechanics. If this had not happened at that time, it's pretty impossible to say how and when the subsequent work and discoveries would have evolved.

    Einstein's impact is also significant, e.g.;

    But there are a couple of other very significant names in the history of quantum mechanics besides Planck and Einstein, e.g.;
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2013
  4. Apr 20, 2013 #3
    The impact was... well, a whole paradigm shift in physics. But even if the problem had not been solved, someone else would have discovered quantum physics with what was going on at the time (to explain the anomalous specific heat of solids at low temperatures).
  5. Apr 21, 2013 #4
    It was a year or so before anyone realized what had happened. That is, Planck quantized the energy but didn't know he had done so, and no one noticed for a while. There weren't very many physicists in those days. Even after this was noticed, I'm sure it took a while before it was realized that there was no way to make the quantization go away. So I don't know how much effect it had at the time.

    You have to realize that in those days many physicists didn't believe in atoms. Einstein's work on Brownian motion convinced some of them.

    Einstein's photoelectric effect theory was more direct, so may have been more convincing evidence of a quantum character of energy. But I bet the idea didn't really take hold for some time.

    Planck put his prestige and influence behind Einstein's relativity theory and was a great help in getting this accepted. If Planck hadn't done so it would have taken a longer time, possibly much longer.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013
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