".. I didn't reflect much on what I was doing.." How Planck discovered his radiation formula

Physics – Quantum Physics

Scientific paper

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Text in german; LeTeX 2epsilon, 7 pages, no figures; to be published in Physikalische Blaetter, Dec. 2000

Scientific paper

On December 14. 1900, Max Planck communicated his derivation of his radiation formula, which he later called ``an act of desperation''. This date is widely recognized as birthday of quantum theory. For Planck it meant the end of his carefully planned and ambitious research project, in which he wanted to establish the second law of thermodynamics as strictly deterministic law for systems of matter and electromagnetic radiation in interaction. He knew he could not succeed within classical mechanics, but had the somewhat strange hope that the inclusion of Maxwell's electrodynamics would change the situation. Later he always disagreed with Einstein's light-quantum hypothesis, because it implied a renunciation from Maxwell's theory, which in Germany gained full recognition and acceptance as late as the 1890's, mainly through the theoretical and experimental work of Heinrich Hertz.

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