Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck
Born: 23 April 1858, Kiel, Schleswig (now Germany)
Died: 4 October 1947, Göttingen, 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 corresponding to the temperature of the body, and not to its composition. Calculating the form of the spectrum using then-known physical laws gave an unreasonable result; the radiation in the high-frequency area of the spectrum became infinite. Max Planck solved this problem in 1900 by introducing the theory of "quanta", that is, that radiation consists of quanta with specific energies determined by a new fundamental constant, thereafter called Planck's constant.