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On 150 anniversary of
M. Planck birthday


“Discovery of quantum physical properties is my
general discovery”
M .Planck

In April 23, 2008 all scientific community celebrated 150 anniversary of Max Planck birthday, the outstanding German scientist, physicisttheoretician, the founder of quantum theory, a laureate of Nobel Prize in Physics of 1918.
In 1900, he introduced the concept of quantum of action (Planck’s constant) and, based on the quantum ideas, deduced the radiation law. The works on thermodynamics, relativity theory and natural philosophy belong to M. Planck.
In one of the latest days of the passing century, 14 December 1900, the scientist gave a lecture “On the theory of radiant energy distribution for a normal spectrum” at the session of German Physical Society.
Energy emission and absorption by atoms and molecules occurs not continuously, as believed, but discretely (only in quantized form) by certain “portions” or quanta. That was a distillation of Planck’s idea. It undermined the grounds of classic physic dogmata.
In that way quantum physics appeared.
Subsequently, Einstein characterized that event: “ It is the Planck radiation law that provided the first exact definition of absolute values for atoms… It showed convincingly that besides atomistic structure of matter, there existed in a way atomistic structure of energy controlled by a universal constant… This discovery became a basis for all researchers in physics in XX century. Establishment of an actual theory of molecules and atoms and energetic processes controlling their transformations is impossible without this discovery. It destroyed the frame of classical mechanics and electrodynamics and posed the problem of finding a new cognitive basis for the whole physics”.
At first, the quantum theory was accepted frostily. Some considered it unrealistic the others – not necessary. It was Einstein who equipped with this theory for the first time. In 1905, he introduced the concept of light quanta, photons and afterwards elaborated the quantum theory of heat capacity of solids.
Planck returned the favor. He belonged to those who approved and understood the relativity theory (apropos, he proposed the term “relativity theory” in 1906).
Reserved, dryish and somewhat stand-offish, Planck was a romantic in science and a loving husband and a careful farther in his family. He had two daughters and two sons. The elder son was killed at Verdun in 1916, the younger was shoot in 1945 for participation in the conspiracy against Hitler. M. Planck died on 4 October 1947, half a year to his ninetieth birthday and three years to the fiftieth anniversary of the quantum theory”.
M. Planck Society for assistance sciences with its headquarter in Berlin has supported fundamental research in natural and humanitarian fields for 60 years. The Society, an independent, nongovernment organization in German, has 80 own institutes, scientific and research laboratories and working groups which results supplement the work of colleges and other scientific and research institutions and are accessible for society.
At present, about 12600 collaborators and 11300 invited scientists, post-graduates and students work in the M. Planck Society under guidance of Peter Gruss, the scientists in the field of developmental biology. Budget for 2007 was 1433 milliards euro; it is mostly financed from public finance.
In this way German nation memorialized one of the outstanding physicist.

Dr. Aleksey D. Zolotarenko
Institute for Problems of Materials Science
of Ukrainian Academy of Sciences.
August 2009