- This article is about Planck, the German physicist. For the proposed European Space Agency artificial satellite, see "Planck (satellite)".
Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck (April 23, 1858 – October 4, 1947) was a German physicist who is considered to be the inventor of quantum theory.
Born in Kiel, Planck started his physics studies at Munich University in 1874, graduating in 1879 in Berlin. He returned to Munich in 1880 to teach at the university, and moved to Kiel in 1885. There he married Marie Mack in 1886. In 1889, he moved to Berlin, where from 1892 on he held the chair of theoretical physics.
In 1899, he discovered a new fundamental constant, which is named Planck's constant, and is, for example, used to calculate the energy of a photon. Also that year, he described his own set of units of measurement (such as the Planck length and the Planck mass) based on fundamental physical constants. One year later, he discovered the law of heat radiation, which is named Planck's law of black body radiation. This law became the basis of quantum theory, which emerged ten years later in cooperation with Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr.
From 1905 to 1909, Planck acted as the head of the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (German Physical Society). His wife died in 1909, and one year later he married Marga von Hoesslin. In 1913, he became head of Berlin University. For the foundation of quantum physics, he was awarded the 1918 Nobel Prize in Physics. From 1930 to 1937, Planck was head of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften (KWG, Emperor-Wilhelm-Society for the advancement of science).
During World War II, Planck tried to convince Hitler to spare Jewish scientists. Planck's son Erwin and Planck's wife were executed on July 20, 1944, for treason in connection with an attempted assassination of Hitler. After Max Planck's death on October 4, 1947 in Göttingen, the KWG was renamed as the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften (MPG, Max-Planck-Society for the advancement of science).
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Last updated: 05-06-2005 14:30:24