Who is Max Planck?June 26, 2021
Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck was a German physicist, winner of the 1918 Nobel Prize in Physics, who lived from 23 April 1858 to 4 October 1947.
Planck developed “Quantum Theory” and worked on the laws of thermodynamics. He found the “Planck constant” and “Planck radiation law” known by his name, and with the quantum theory he put forward, he had a revolutionary and epoch-making effect on the laws of physics known until that day.
Planck comes from a traditional and intellectual family. His paternal great-grandparents were professors of theology in Göttingen. His father was a law professor in Kiel and Munich. Planck was born in Kiel, Holstein. His father is Johann Julius Wilhelm Planck and his mother is Emma Patzig, his father’s second wife. He was baptized as Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck Marx and Marx was designated as his primary name. However, at the age of 10, he signed with the name Max and used this name for the rest of his life. As the sixth child in his family, Max’s earliest memories are of the march of Prussian and Austrian troops into Kiel during the Second Schleswig War in 1864. In 1867, he and his family moved to Munich, and Max was enrolled in the Maximilians Gymnasium school. Here he learned mechanics and astronomy from his teacher, Hermann Müller. Plank, who learned the first law of conservation of energy from Müller, graduated from this school at the age of 17. This is Planck’s first contact with the field of physics.
Planck was also gifted in music. He took singing lessons; He played piano, cello and organ. He also composed songs and opera. However, he chose to study physics instead. Philipp von Jolly, a professor of physics in Munich, also gave an advice to Planck, who was going to take his lecture, and said the following sentence: “In this field, almost everything has already been discovered and the whole event fills the holes that have been left behind.” Planck replied that there is no one who wants to discover new things. However, he started his studies at the University of Munich in 1874 in order to understand the known basis of this field. Under Jolly’s supervision, Planck was conducting only experiments related to his scientific career. He was working on the diffusion of hydrogen through heated platinum but was later transferred to theoretical physics. In 1877, he went to Berlin to study for a year with physicists Hermann von Helmholtz and Gustav Kirchhoff, and mathematician Karl Weierstrass.
While in Berlin, Planck joined the local Physical Society and wrote: “I was there in those days as a theoretical physicist. This has not been easy for me. Because I started with entropy. This subject was not popular at that time. That’s why he was considered a mathematical ghoul.” Thanks to his initiative, the various local Physical Societies of Germany merged in 1898 because they wanted to form the German Physical Society (Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft, DPG). Between 1905 and 1909 Planck presided there.
Planck had begun his sixth semester theoretical physics courses. According to Lise Meitner, her lessons were dry and somewhat impersonal. But British participant James R. Partington said the following about the lectures: “He passed without using notes, without making any mistakes, without any lag in his speech. It was the best lecture I’ve ever heard.” He continued his words with the following sentence: “There were many people listening to the standing lesson. Some of the audience fell on the floor at times as the conference room was well heated and fairly close. But this did not disrupt the flow of the lesson.” Planck did not actually establish a real school. He had only 20 graduate students. Moritz Schlick was one of these students.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook