Father of the Quantum Theory: ‘’Max Planck’’

24 Eylül 2019

Construction of the quantum physics makes it a very complicated, difficult to understand and an open-ended science. Renowned physicist Richard Feynman described this issue as: “I can tell with certainty that no one grasped the quantum mechanics.”

I would like to start by describing the quantum theory…

What is the Quantum Theory?

Materials are composed of two tiny particles defined as electrons and quarks. The atom and molecules are significant particles that compose our world.

In order to define how the World works, scientists employ the quantum theory. Any technology around us is based on the quantum theory. Despite being complicated, the theory is fast beside even in our daily lives.

In order to get a better grasp, we can talk about the Schrödinger’s Cat. Imagine a box containing a bottle of cyanide and a cat. Also imagine a hammer over cyanide bottle holding on with a rope.

It is designed to fall if a random event takes place (for instance when a uranium atom is disintegrated). Erwin Schrodinger designed this thought experiment for superposition. Atomic disintegration is subject to the quantum law.

 Atom comes forward as integrated and disintegrated. When quantum theory is investigated, the probability of atom being integrated is the same as it is being disintegrated upon measurement.

In simpler terms, this can be described as the atom simultaneously being both integrated and disintegrated. The cat’s survival depends on uranium atom.

A Life Dedicated to Physics

In fact, there are several examples and discoveries regarding the quantum theory.

Now let us describe German scientist, founder of the quantum theory and receiver of the 1918 Nobel Prize in Physics, Max Planck.

Max Planck was born in Kiel, Germany in April 1858. He was influenced by his high school physics teacher and started to have a deep interest in physics.

Upon completion of his high school education, he became a student of the prominent physics professors of Munich and Berlin Universities, Kirchhoff and Helmholtz.

Following his graduation from university, he became a mathematics professor in his hometown, at the Kiel University.

Later he gave classes at various universities and conducted many studies. His physics studies brought him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918.

Planck developed the quantum theory and conducted numerous studies on the Laws of Thermodynamics; discovering the Planck constant and the Planck’s law of radiation.


The Planck constant is used for quantum of action in quantum mechanics. In International System of Units, it is measured as joule-seconds (J-s).

Planck’s law of radiation, otherwise known as the Planck’s law, is the building block of modern physics and the quantum theory. This law is radiation emitted by a blackbody in thermal equilibrium balance at a given temperature. Max Planck developed this law empirically in 1900 and improved with studies using constants.

The pioneer scientist and mastermind behind the quantum theory was definitely granted several other awards in addition to the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Planck received Pour le Mérite (1915), the Lorentz Medal (1927), the Franklin Medal (1927), Adlerschild des Deutschen Reiches (1928) (from German Presidency), the Max-Planck Medal (1929, with Einstein), and the Copley Medal (1929).

In addition, Max Planck was granted the title of honorary PhD from Frankfurt, Munich, Rostock, Berlin, Graz, Athens, Cambridge, London, and Glasgow universities.

Planck dedicated his life to physics and developed the quantum theory that has been open to improvement from the 1900’s onwards with inventory of information increasing incrementally with studies.

This life of success ended tragically, having to make a choice. Planck has 7 children only one of which survived and arrested for attempting to assassin Hitler in 1944.

Nazi headmen presented Planck with a proposition. Had he accepted the offer his son was going to survive but he would have disregarded and went against his principles.

This bitter offer was: “Sign document declaring your faith in and dedication to Nazism and your son shall survive!” Planck declined this dirty offer and lost his last surviving child for his values and beliefs, receiving a moral award for history of humanity next to his numerous prizes.

Max Planck’s successful life ended in 1947.

“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of the nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of the mystery that we are trying to solve. / Max Planck”

Prepared by: Çağla Köksal