IN JANUARY 1910 Max Planck sent a paper to Annalen dar Physik on the theory of black‐body radiation. It was his first paper on this subject since the epoch‐making work in which he had introduced the concept of energy quanta almost a decade earlier. Planck had no new results to report, but he felt that it was time he expressed his views on what had been going on in the intervening years. Not that there was so very much to discuss: neither the problems of radiation nor Planck's startling idea that energy could sometimes vary only in discrete steps had yet seriously caught the attention of most of his colleagues. Planck himself, of course, had thought a great deal about these things, as he remarked in a letter to Walther Nernst a few months later: “I can say without exaggeration that for ten years, without interruption, nothing in physics has so stimulated me, agitated me, and excited me as these quanta of action.” But his approach to the problems did not coincide with those of the relatively few others who had concerned themselves with the theory of radiation, and Planck wanted to point out the path that he considered most sensible and most promising for future success.
Thermodynamics and quanta in Planck's work
Martin J. Klein; Thermodynamics and quanta in Planck's work. Physics Today 1 November 1966; 19 (11): 23–32. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.3047812
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