Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck
Born: 23 April 1858, Kiel, Schleswig (now Germany)
Died: 4 October 1947, Goettingen, West Germany (now Germany)
Affiliation at the time of the award: Berlin University, Berlin, Germany
Prize motivation: "in recognition of the services he rendered to the advancement of Physics by his discovery of energy quanta"
Field: quantum mechanics
Max Planck received his Nobel Prize one year later, in 1919.
Prize share: 1/1
When a black body is heated, electromagnetic radiation is emitted with a spectrum depending on the temperature of the body and not of its composition. Calculating the form of the spectrum, using the then established physical laws, gave an unreasonable result - the radiation in the high frequency part of the spectrum became infinite. Max Planck solved this problem by introducing the concept of quanta: the emitted radiation consists of quanta of specific energies determined by a new fundamental constant named the Planck constant.