Astronomical Tales

What do the head of the Nazi atom bomb project and the father of quantum physics have in common?

Werner Heisenberg, who headed the atom bomb project for Adolf Hitler, supervised this work at the institute that now bears Max Planck's name. Interestingly, Planck was vehemently opposed to the Nazi regime. (more about that later)

Max Planck is best remembered as the originator of Quantum Theory that ushered in a new area of physics which allowed Einstein and others to build their theories.

Quantum theory states that radiation is emitted, transmitted, and absorbed not continuously but in discrete packets or quanta of energy. He introduced the fundamental physical constant used in mathematical calculations of quantum physics describing the behavior or particles and waves on the atomic scale.

Was the Father of Relativity really a bad student?
the answer

Despite a great love of music, by age 9, Planck knew he wanted to be a physicist. He became a teacher and rose quickly through the academic ranks, being promoted to full professor at the University of Berlin in 1889.

In 1930 Planck was elected president of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, the same institution from which Heisenberg worked on the Nazi atomic bomb project. Fascism was odious to Planck, yet he remained in Berlin throughout the war and did not openly oppose Heisenberg's work. After the war the Kaiser Wilhelm Society and several institutes bore Max Planck's name.

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