Max Planck

Max Planck nsIn existographies, Max Planck (1858-1947) (IQ:190|#42) [RGM:18|1,500+] (Gottlieb 1000:25) (Odueny 100:15) [Kanowitz 50:8] [Cropper 30:1|QM] (GPE:17) [CR:247] was a German physicist and thermodynamicist, noted for []

In 1879, Planck completed his PhD dissertation
“On the Second Fundamental Theorem of the Mechanical Theory of Heat”, on the second main principle of Rudolf Clausius, his 1897 Treatise on Thermodynamics, for his 1899 principle of elementary disorder, for his 1900 postulate of the theory of the existence of "energy elements" (energy quantums) in bodies, the latter of which started the quantum revolution, and for his later efforts to bring German physicist Walther Nernst's 1906 heat theorem and to facilitate its status into that of a "third law". [2] Planck's effort to formulate an expression for the entropy of radiant heat in agreement with thermodynamics and the electromagnetic theory, in a way that would solve the ultraviolet catastrophe problem, initiated quantum mechanics. Planck was a product of the Berlin school of thermodynamics, through is studies of the works of German physicist Rudolf Clausius, a school he later became a professor at.

Clausius | Second law
In 1877, in graduate school, at the University of Berlin, not able to satisfy his mind in respect to education, from Helmholtz and Kirchhoff's lectures, Planck spent time in the library reading on the conservation of energy, during which time he came upon the writings of German physicist Rudolf Clausius writings; the discovery of which he describes as follows
: [5]

“One day, I happened to come across the treatises of Rudolf Clausius, whose lucid style and enlightening clarity of reasoning made an enormous impression on me, and I became deeply absorbed in his articles, with an ever increasing enthusiasm. I appreciated especially his exact formulation of the two laws of thermodynamics, and the sharp distinction which he was the first to establish between them.”

Planck, in respect to his reading of Clausius, summarized the then-prevalent matter theory of heat (see: fluid theory of heat) has follows: [13]

“Up to that time, as a consequence of the theory that heat is a substance, the universally accepted view had been that the passing of heat from a higher to a lower temperature was analogous to the sinking of a weight from a higher to a lower position, and it was not easy to overcome this mistaken opinion.”

Planck summarized the Clausius version of the second law as follows:

“Heat will not pass spontaneously from a colder to a hotter body. This means not only that heat will not pass directly from a colder into a warmer body, but also that it is impossible to transmit, by any means, heat from a colder into a hotter body without there remaining in nature some change to serve as compensation.”

Planck, in his “Scientific Autobiography”, states that he refined Clausius’ second law hypothesis as follows:

“The process of heat conduction cannot be completely reversed by any means. This expresses the same idea as the wording of Clausius, but without requiring an additional clarifying explanation. A process which in no manner can be completely reversed I called a ‘natural’ one. The term for it in universal use today, is: ‘Irreversible’.”

Planck elaborates on this as follows:

“Since the question whether a process is reversible or irreversible depends solely on the nature of the initial state and of the terminal state of the process, but not on the manner in which the process develops, in the case of an irreversible process the terminal state is in a certain sense more important than the initial state—as if, so to speak, nature ‘preferred’ it to the latter. I saw a measure of this ‘preference’ in Clausius' entropy; and I found the meaning of the second law of thermodynamics in the principle that in every natural process the sum of the entropies of all bodies involved in the process increases.”

Planck states that these ideas were worked out in his doctoral dissertation completed in 1879 at the University of Munich.

In Oct 1878 Planck passed his qualifying exams and in Feb 1879 defended his dissertation, “On the Second Fundamental Theorem of the Mechanical Theory of Heat” (Über den zweiten Hauptsatz der mechanischen Wärmetheorie). He briefly taught mathematics and physics at his former school in Munich. In June 1880 he presented his habilitation thesis, Gleichgewichtszustände isotroper Körper in verschiedenen Temperaturen (Equilibrium states of isotropic bodies at different temperatures). With the completion of his habilitation thesis, Planck became an unpaid private lecturer in Munich, waiting until he was offered an academic position. Although he was initially ignored by the academic community, he furthered his work on the field of heat theory and discovered one after another the same thermodynamical formalism as Gibbs without realizing it. Clausius' ideas on entropy occupied a central role in his work.

Planck was the first to define entropy as S = K log W or the entropy of a system proportional to its multiplicity or probability W, as he first stated in 1901. The basis of his argument is that, firstly, based on the theorem that the probabilities of two systems independent of one another is equal to the product of the probabilities of the two systems (W = W1W2); secondly, that the entropy is represented by the sum of entropies (S = S1 + S2); whereby the entropy is proportional to the logarithm of the probability (S = K log W). [4]

In 1867, Planck enrolled in the Maximilians gymnasium school in Munich, where he came under the tutelage of German mathematician Hermann Müller, who took an interest in the youth, and taught him astronomy and mechanics as well as mathematics. It was from Müller that Planck first learned the principle of conservation of energy. Planck graduated from here at the age of 17. In 1874, Plank enrolled at the University of Munich where, under the tutelage of physicist Phillipp von Jolly, he studied the diffusion of hydrogen through heated platinum, but soon transferred to theoretical physics.

In 1877, at the age of 19, Planck went to Berlin for a year of study with physicists Hermann Helmholtz and Gustav Kirchhoff and the mathematician Karl Weierstrass. He wrote that Helmholtz was never quite prepared, spoke slowly, miscalculated endlessly, and bored his listeners, while Kirchhoff spoke in carefully prepared lectures which were dry and monotonous. He soon became close friends with Helmholtz.

Max Planck
An earlier photo of Planck.

Physics professor
In April 1885 the University of Kiel appointed Planck as associate professor of theoretical physics. Further work on entropy and its treatment, especially as applied in physical chemistry, followed. He proposed a thermodynamic basis for Svante Arrhenius' theory of electrolytic dissociation. Within four years he was named the successor to Kirchhoff's position at the University of Berlin — presumably thanks to Helmholtz's intercession — and by 1892 became a full professor. In Berlin, Max Planck joined the local Physical Society. He later wrote about this time, in what has become a famous entropy quotation:

“In those days I was essentially the only theoretical physicist there, whence things were not so easy for me, because I started mentioning entropy, but this was not quite fashionable, since it was regarded as a mathematical spook.”

In 1907 Planck was offered Boltzmann's position in Vienna, but turned it down to stay in Berlin. During 1909 he was the Ernest Kempton Adams Lecturer in Theoretical Physics at Columbia University in New York City. He retired from Berlin on 10 January 1926, and was succeeded by Erwin Schrödinger.

Lectures on thermodynamics
In 1893, Planck published his Outline of General Thermochemistry, a summary of the results of his electrochemical and thermochemical investigations, some of which overlapped with the work of Walther Nernst; investigations which trace to earlier 1889-90 papers of Planck published on the electromotive force. Planck then expanded on and retitled his General Thermochemistry into his now-famous 1897 Lectures on Thermodynamics (Vorlesungen über Thermodynamik), the fifth and final edition appearing in 1917 as Treatise on Thermodynamics; a title change which supposedly was said to signify that Planck wanted to be known as a thermodynamicist and not solely known for his earlier work in physical chemistry, a subject that Planck defined as follows: [6]

Thermochemistry treats of the relationships between chemical and thermal phenomena, and together with photochemistry and electrochemistry constitutes the field of physical chemistry.”

In his lectures or treatise on thermodynamics it is said that he introduced the "dilute solution model" as used in modern electrochemical thermodynamics and ecological thermodynamics.

Energy elements
In 1900, Planck theorized that the internal energy U of a black body (resonator) could be divided into a discrete number of “energy elementsε by the expression:

U = \epsilon P \,

where P is large integer. [1] This supposition later led German-born American physicist Albert Einstein, in 1905, to propose that light itself was composed of quantums of energy, i.e. light quantums. These light quantums later came to be called “photons”, a term introduced in 1926 by American physical chemist Gilbert Lewis. These developments launched the development of quantum thermodynamics.
Helmholtz vs Gibbs (as lecturer)
A Helmholtz vs Gibbs (as lecturer) comparison, the former of which Planck attended, as commented on above (left). (Ѻ)

Scientific truth | Boltzmann
A famous quote by Planck, often misattributed to his quantum theory, is:

“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”
— Max Planck (1949), Scientific Autobiography (pgs. 33-34)

The statement, however, is in regards to the atomic theory (atomic hypothesis) based statistical thermodynamics work of Austrian physicist Ludwig Boltzmann and how his work triumphed over German physical chemist Wilhelm Ostwald and the energetics school. [3]

In 1937, Planck gave a lecture entitled “Religion and Natural Science”, wherein, among other things he stated: [11]

Natural science wants men to learn. Religion wants them to act.”

The following is one statement by Planck on religion: [9]

“The law of causation is the guiding rule of science; but the categorical imperative—that is to say, the dictate of duty—is the guiding rule of life. Here intelligence has to give way to character, and scientific knowledge to religious belief. And when I say religious belief here I mean the word in its fundamental sense.”

Of note, theists often claim Planck as one of their own. In the 2013 Think Twice (intelligence ²) debate on topic “Science Refutes God”, e.g., the opening mediator leads in with the statement (0:55-1:18) that: (Ѻ)

Isaac Newton (b.1642), Max Planck (b.1858), Copernicus (b.1473), Galileo (b.1564), Francis Bacon (b.1561), and Pascal (b.1623) all believed in God. What they also all have in common is that none of them was born within a 150-years of us. Today, 3 out of every 5 scientists (60 percent) say, knowing what they know, they can’t really buy into the concept of god.”

The Planck believed in god assertion here seems to be off target. While there is some citation that Planck, in his early days may have believed in a “personal God”, six months before his dereaction (death) from a stroke on 4 Oct 1946, a rumor stated that Planck had converted to Catholicism. Amid such questionable rumors, surrounding a known self-taught materialist philosopher, an engineer queried Planck about this rumor, to which Planck replied that:

“[I do not believe] in a personal god, let alone a Christian god.”
— Max Planck (1947), “Comment to W.H. Kick”, Jun 18; four months before his dereaction (Oct 4) [10]

Other reports (Herneck, 1958) indicate that while Planck, in his early and middle years may have confessed to a belief in a personal god and may have considered this compatible with the deterministic world view of physics (Planck, 196a, 160-68), later on in his reaction existence (life) he changed, and in one of the last documents about him (Herneck, 1958; 1960) denied that he believed in a personal God or ever had done so. (Ѻ)

Quotes | On
The following are notes of praise and or tribute:

“The work of Planck is the basis of all twentieth-century physics.”
Albert Einstein (c.1930) [10]

“As a student, he chose a certain branch of this science, for which even its neighbor sciences had but little regard—and even within this particular branch a highly-specialized field, in which literally nobody at all had any interest whatever. His first scientific papers were not read even by Helmholtz, Kirchhoff and Clausius, the very men who would have found it easiest to appreciate them. Yet, he continued on his way, obeying an inner call, until he came face to face with a problem which many others before him had tried and failed to solve, a problem for which the very path taken by him turned out to have been the best preparation. Thus, he was able to recognize and to formulate, from measurements of radiations, the law which bears and immortalizes his name for all times. He announced it before the Berlin Physical Society on Oct 19, 1900. On Dec 14 1900, again before the German Physical Society, he was able to present the theoretical deduction of the law of radiation. This was the birthday of quantum theory.”
Max von Laue (1948), “Memorial Address” [12]

Quotes | By
The following are other noted quotes by Planck:

“The advantage of the principle of least action is that in one and the same equation it relates the quantities that are immediately relevant not only to mechanics but also to electrodynamics and thermodynamics; these are space, time, and potential.”
— Max Planck (date), Publication [8]

“In physics, as in every other science, common sense alone is not supreme; there must also be a place for reason. Further, the mere absence of logical contradiction does no necessarily imply that everything is reasonable. Now reason tells that if we turn our back upon a so-called object and cease to attend to it, the object still continues to exist. Reason tells us further that both the individual and mankind as a whole, together with the entire world which we apprehend through our senses, is no more than a tiny fragment of the vastness of nature, whose laws are in no way affected by any brain. On the contrary, they existed long before there was any life on earth, and will continue to exist long after the last physicist has perished.”
— Max Planck (1931), The Universe in the Light of Modern Science [7]

“Of course, it took a number of years before the physicist community paid attention to my theory. Because at the beginning, it was not understood in wide circles, and as a result was ignored, as it so often goes with such newer things.”
— Max Planck (1942), Film Archive of Personalities (Ѻ), referring to his quantum theory
Max Planck (at desk)
Planck studying at his desk.

“If a historian wanted to ascribe the decision of Julius Caesar to cross the Rubicon not to his political deliberations and to his innate temperament, but to his free will, his view would be tantamount to a renunciation of scientific understanding. Therefore, we will have to conclude that from the external view point of observation the will is to be assume as causally determined.”
— Max Planck (1946), “Phantom Problems in Science”, Jun 17 [13]

“My original decision to devote myself to science was a direct result of the discovery which has never ceased to fill me with enthusiasm since my early youth—the comprehension of the far from obvious fact that the laws of human reasoning coincide with the laws governing the sequences of the impressions we receive from the world about us; that, therefore, pure reasoning can enable man to gain an insight into the mechanism of the latter. In this connection, it is of paramount importance that the outside world is something independent from man, something absolute, and the quest for the laws which apply to this absolute appeared to me as the most sublime scientific pursuit in life.”
— Max Planck (c.1947), Scientific Autobiography (pg. 13) [13]

“My studies of entropy, which I regarded as next to energy the most important property of physical systems. Since its maximum value indicates a state of equilibrium, all the laws of physical and chemical systems follow from a knowledge of entropy.”
— Max Planck (c.1947), Scientific Autobiography (pgs. 19-20) [13]

1. (a) Planck, Max. (1901). "On the Law of Distribution of Energy in the Normal Spectrum". Annalen der Physik, vol. 4, p. 553 ff.
(b) Planck, Max. (1897). Treatise on Thermodynamics. New York: Dover (reprint).
2. Peacock, Kent A. (2008). The Quantum Revolution (section: Thermodynamics, pgs. 5-14). Greenwood Publishing Group.
3. (a) Planck, Max. (1949). Scientific Autobiography, and Other Papers (translator: Frank Gaynor; Memorial Address: Max von Laue) (pgs. 33-34). Philosophical Library. Open Media.
(b) Hokikian, Jack. (2002). The Science of Disorder: Understanding the Complexity, Uncertainty, and Pollution in Our World (pg. 179). Los Feliz Publishing.
4. Planck, Max (1925). A Survey of Physics (pg. 17). Methuen & Co.
5. Williams, Garnett P. (1997). Chaos Theory Tamed (pg. 382). Joseph Henry Press.
6. (a) Barkan, Diana K. (1999). Walther Nernst and the Transition to Modern Physical Chemistry (Lectures on thermodynamics, pgs. 83-85). Cambridge University Press.
(b) Planck, Max. (1913). Vorlesungen über Thermodynamik (Lectures on Thermodynamics). (§ 249: Verdünnte Lösungen, pgs. 212-252). Berlin: Walter De Gruyter & Co.
7. (a) Planck, Max. (1931). The Universe in the Light of Modern Science (pg. 8). Publisher.
(b) Zucker, Morris. (1945). The Philosophy of American History: The Historical Field Theory (pgs. 508-09). Arnold-Howard Publishing Co.
8. Myint-U, TYn, and Debnath, Lokkenath. (2007). Linear Partial Differential Equations for Scientists and Engineers (pdf) (pg. vii). Springer, 2011.
9. (a) Planck, Max. (1932). Where is Science Going? (pg. 167) Allen & Unwin.
(b) Zucker, Morris. (1945). The Philosophy of American History: The Historical Field Theory (pg. 532). Arnold-Howard Publishing Co.
10. Brown, Brandon R. (2015). Planck: Driven by Vision, Broken by War. Oxford University Press.
11. (a) Planck, Max. (1937). “Religion and Natural Science”, in: Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers (translator: F. Gaynor) (pg. 184). New York.
(b) Brown, Brandon R. (2015). Planck: Driven by Vision, Broken by War. Oxford University Press.
12. Planck, Max. (1949). Scientific Autobiography, and Other Papers (translator: Frank Gaynor; Memorial Address: Max von Laue) (student, pgs. 8-9; reasoning, pg. 13). Philosophical Library. Open Media.
13. Planck, Max. (1948) “A Scientific Autobiography” (“Wissenschaftliche Selbstbiographie”); in: Scientific Autobiography, and Other Papers (translator: Frank Gaynor; Memorial Address: Max von Laue) (§1, pgs. 13-51; reasoning, pg. 13). Philosophical Library. Open Media.
13. Planck, Max. (1946). “Phantom Problems in Science”, Lecture delivered in Gottingen, Jun 17; in: Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers (translator: Frank Gaynor) (§3:52-79; pg. 73). Philosophical Library, 1949.

Further reading
● Planck, Max. (1885). “The Nature of Energy”, submitted to philosophical Faculty of Gottingen contest, took second place.
● Planck, Max. (1897).
Treatise on Thermodynamics. New York: Dover.
Planck, Max. (1900). Entropy and Temperature of Radiant Heat.” Annalen der Physik, vol. 1. no 4. April, pg. 719-37.
● Planck, Max. (1905). “On Clausius’ Theorem for Irreversible Cycles, and on the Increase of Entropy”, Philosophical Magazine: a Journal of Theoretical, Experimental, and Applied Physics, 167-72. Taylor & Francis.
Planck, Max. (1909). Eight Lectures on Theoretical Physics (§1: Reversibility and Irreversibility, pg. 1-). Delivered at Columbia University. Dover, 1998.
● Planck, Max. (1914). The Theory of Heat Radiation, (translated by Morton Masius). Springer.
● Planck, Max. (1936). The Philosophy of Physics (abs). W.W. Norton & Co.

External links
Max Planck – Wikipedia.
Max Planck – Eric Weisstein’s World of Scientific Biography.
Planck, Max (1858-1947) – WorldCat Identities.

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