Quanta

1900

Quanta

The book of science

Tom Sharp

Max Planck, Albert Einstein quantum mechanics

Quanta

Graininess

Indivisible

J. J. Tomson and others had already taught that atoms have parts. Planck and Einstein were at work to explain what those parts were and how they worked.

Planck studied how hot objects emit light; he called the packets of radiation emitted by black bodies “bundles” or “energy elements.” Einstein studied how metal surfaces that absorb light emit electrons; he calculated that photons had to be quantized. All elecromagnetic radiation is absorbed and emitted in discrete packets, that is, in quanta.

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