We live in an Universe where we deal with objects ranging from the size of a quark to the size of a galaxy. As we know that a single tee cannot fit people of different sizes, similarly, a similar kind of physics cannot explain phenomenons related to objects of different sizes. Hence, where we have Classical Mechanics to explain the macroscopic phenomenons, quantum mechanics come to the rescue of microscopic phenomenons. Hence, Quantum mechanics ,also known as quantum physics, is basically the science of the very small which explains the behavior of matter and its interactions with energy on the scale of atoms and subatomic particles.
When was quantum mechanics born?
Now, the question arises that how and when did the quantum
theory come to life! Well, this story of quantum mechanics began on December 14, 1900 when Max Planck gave the derivation of his law for black-body radiation at a meeting of the German Physical Society, hence marking the beginning of the quantum era.
When a black body is heated, it emits radiations of different wavelengths. With the existing knowledge of classical mechanics, according to which, energy is solely a continuous wave-like phenomenon, independent of the characteristics of physical matter, physicists were unable to explain the phenomena of black body radiation by the end of 19th century . However,through physical experiments, Planck demonstrated that energy, in certain situations, can exhibit characteristics of physical matter. In 1900, Max Planck derived a formula for the spectrum that agreed with the measurements. He assumed a hypothetical electrically charged oscillator in a cavity which contained black body radiation. It could only change its energy in a minimal increment, E, that was proportional to the frequency of its associated EM wave. Planck calculated the required proportionality constant, h, from his measurements and this constant h,came to be known as Planck’s constant.
Hence, Planck’s theory held that radiant energy is made up of particle-like components, known as “quantum”, and in this way, quantum mechanics came to existence! This theory helped to resolve previously unexplained natural phenomena such as the behavior of heat in solids and the nature of light absorption on an atomic level. Taking inspiration from Planck’s discovery, many break through discoveries were made in the 20th century, which gave new dimensions to the microscopic world!
In 1918, Planck was rewarded the Nobel Prize in physics for his work on blackbody radiation.Though, Planck made many contributions to theoretical physics, but his fame as a physicist rests primarily on his role as the originator of quantum theory, which revolutionized human understanding of atomic and subatomic process. Thank you Planck for this extraordinary contribution to the atomic world, and yes,
Happy Birthday Quantum Mechanics !
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