1994 is the hundredth anniversary of what Max Planck described in 1935 as the ‘‘black year’’ of German physics. In the eight months between January 1st and September 8th 1894, Heinrich Hertz, August Kundt, and Hermann von Helmholtz died. This article reviews the lives of these three important physicists, their research contributions, and their unique positions in the German physics community. In conclusion, the relationships of these three physicists to Planck are discussed, and Planck’s evaluation of the impact of 1894 on physics in Germany is appraised from our perspective of one hundred years.

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