It was surprising to learn that radiation was quantized by Max Planck to explain blackbody radiation. In 1901 he published a distribution of the form
that fit the experimental data perfectly and it took him a decade more to develop the theoretical framework that could explain such a distribution.
Before Planck, Lord Rayleigh and Sir J. H. Jeans proposed, independently, a distribution of the form
and before that, Wilhelm Wien proposed a distribution of the form
One could say that all Planck did was to add a one in the denominator of the distribution initially proposed by Wien but the Nobel prize that was awarded to him was awarded not for proposing the distribution of blackbody radiation but for proposing quantum statistics. Radical to the prevailing knowledge at that time, Planck proposed that the energy of oscillators that were emitting radiation wasn’t continuous but was quantized, into discrete units, measured by an integral multiple of the fundamental frequency of the oscillator. was the energy of an oscillator before Planck proposed as the energy instead. This
The history of science is simply fascinating and it is amazing to think that what is textbook knowledge to an undergrad now-a-days was one of the toughest problems of the early twentieth century.
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