Leipzig: Barth, 1910. 1st Edition. RARE 1910 MAX PLANCK AUTHOR’S PRESENTATION OFFPRINT with Überreicht vom Verfasser’ (Presented by the Author) printed on the front. Original paper wraps.
In 1909, Max Planck lead an important discussion of Einstein’s famous Salzburg lecture on light-quantum hypothesis lecture. He began by questioning “whether the light-quantum hypothesis was necessary or not. He claimed that the answer was ‘no’ and that Einstein had based his conclusions in favour of it on an implicit assumption: he had derived the fluctuations of free radiation from the motion of matter without knowing the detailed interaction between matter and radiation. According to the existing electron theory radiation was emitted by accelerated electrons; however, the same electron theory contained many difficulties – such as the ones connected with the extended structure of electrons; hence its conclusions could not be considered as entirely secure. One should, therefore, ‘first try to shift the entire difficulty of the quantum theory to the question of the interaction between matter and radiant energy. The processes in pure vacuum could then, for the present, still be explained with the help of Maxwell’s equations” (Mehra, HD, 122-123).
While Planck was newly and “firmly reject[ing] the light particle hypothesis” he was still “acknowledge[ing] a large gap in contemporary electron theory” (Kuhn BBT, 199). “’Perhaps one may suppose that an oscillating resonator does not have a continuously variable energy, but that its energy is a simple multiple of an elementary quantum. I believe that the introduction of this proposition can lead to a satisfactory radiation theory. But the question remains: how is anything of the sort to be done?” (ibid).
Just months later, Planck extended his thinking in [this paper], ‘On the Theory of Thermal Radiation’. He noted that “two extreme points of view… could be assumed. The most conservative one was taken by Jeans, who had derived from the equations of classical mechanics and electrodynamics the classical radiation equation. Since this equation obviously disagreed with experiments, the necessity arose to find a way of modifying the equations of dynamics so as to include the existence of the quantum of action h” (Mehra, 123). Of the other point of view, Planck writes here: “’The most extreme attitude in this regard is taken by Thomson, Larmor, Einstein, and Stark. They tend to view that even the electrodynamic process in pure vacuum, even the light waves, do not propagate continuously but in discrete quanta (the light-quanta)’” (ibid).
Clearly arguing for a middle ground, Planck urged a “search for a modification of existing theory which would, unlike Jean’s proposal, ‘do justice to the new facts,’ but which would not, like Einstein’s, ‘sacrifice their most valuable parts’.
Such a modification, he insisted, would demand recognition that ‘certain elementary radiation processes which in Jean’s theory are assumed to be continuous, in reality occur discontinuously… He continued, “one will not for this purpose have to give up the Principle of Least Action, which has so strongly attested its universal significance, but [one will need to abandon the hypothesis] of the universal validity of the Hamiltonian differential equations’” (Kuhn).
By early 1910 and in this paper, “Planck was at last firmly and publicly committed to the entry of discontinuity and the abandonment of some part of classical theory. That that commitment was for Planck both new and consequential is indicated by its immediate effect on his research as well as by a shift in his vocabulary. Except for lectures and a brief note on new experiments, he published nothing on the quantum or black-body theory during the eight years after 1901. Beginning in 1910, however, he returned to quantum problems, and his research dealt with virtually nothing else until 1926” (Kuhn). Item #1002
CONDITION & DETAILS: Leipzig: Barth. 8vo. Meticulous conservator repairs to the wraps. Bright and exceptionally clean within. Very good condition.