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MaxPlanck, an intellectual giant in the field of theoretical physics

As I have read a lot over the years of my life, I often choose subjects that are of little or no practical value to me. But even though no practical value ensues from much of what I read, I choose to read about people or concepts that are of interest to me.
In no way am I suggesting that my writing about distinguished people or difficult concepts prove that I know much about them, but I write this column from memory of my readings and with some research over time, I want to pass on to my readers some of the more interesting (to me at least) people and concepts that have lifted my awareness in regard to some of Gods original work. Of interest to me is the depth of knowledge that man has acquired in the past.

Of course I have written in past columns about Dr. Albert Einstein and his Special Theory of Relativity and his General Theory of Relativity. But in this column I want to write briefly about a man who also revolutionized physics. Some would probably say his contribution was as important as that of some other intellectual giants who helped us to understand more fully the laws and concepts that apply to nature and our being.

The theoretical physicist Max Planck is one such person. While Einstein’s work revealed to us a great deal about the cosmos, Planck’s work showed us a lot about the subatomic aspect of matter and energy.

While Einstein’s work explained much about the universe, it appears that both great men explained how matter acts; Einstein in the macro sense and Planck in the atomic or subatomic sense.
In the case of light, Einstein showed that light is the ultimate limit for speed. He introduced the concept that a great deal of energy can be extracted from matter when he put forth the famous formula: “Energy Equals Mass times the Speed of Light Squared.” The speed of light is 187,000 miles per second.

It was a long held belief that light traveled in waves. But that belief didn’t work on the micro scale. Planck developed the Quantum Theory that explained how light works as a particle or quantum. Planck figured out that light could under certain situations also be explained as a particle as well.
Apparently a better understanding of light enlists both the wave theory and the particle theory. In other words light under certain circumstances acts as a wave while at other times it acts as a particle.

Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck was born April 23, 1858 in Kiel, Germany. He died October 4, 1947 in Gottingen, Germany. Among Dr. Planck’s many honors was his winning of the Nobel Prize in physics in 1918.

Perhaps I’ll write in future columns about other men and women who have contributed much to the field of science and mathematics.