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The Optics Book
Light before Quantum Theory
The quantum theory was first introduced by Planck in 1900.
Max Planck (1858 – 1947) born in Kiel, Germany, on April 23rd 1858. He is known as the “father of the quantum”. Planck developed the hypothesis of the discontinuity of energy, and in the year 1900, discovered the quantum and the formula with his theory that would make him famous. This would be beginning of an unknown field known as Quantum Mechanics, which offered a new and very special way to understand certain phenomenon of physics. Due to his advances, Planck received the Nobel prize in Physics in 1918. Max Planck died on October 4th, 1947.
Planck used Newton’s theory (of Light as a particle), which at that time had no value to develop his hypothesis.
The quantum theory basically say that Light does not arrive in a continuous form, but is composed by small packets of energy, called quantum. These quantum of energy are called photons.
Photons are the “fundamental” particles of the Light, just as electrons are the “fundamental” particles of the matter. This analogy was used to show the particle character of Light. By the same analogy, some years after, de Broglie developed the theory that said that matter could have wave characteristics as well. Electric charge and energy have a granular structure (they’re formed by quantums), as is matter.
The quantum theory has been used to demonstrate the phenomenons that couldn’t be explained with the wave theory of the Light, but there are certain phenomenons that can’t be explained by the quantum theory, and still others that are explained by both theories. This raised some questions: Which theory of the two proposed is correct? Are both correct? How can these theories be associated?
|The Optics. Made by Karen, Timothy and, César for ThinkQuest . 1999 - 2000 All rights reserved|