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In 1900 Max Planck introduced a quantum constant into his mathematical expression for the energy distribution of blackbody radiation. This act is now considered to mark the beginning of the twentieth century revolution in physics. Planck's contemporaries had difficulty understanding his earliest papers on the quantum concept. In 1906 and 1914 Planck published more comprehensive accounts of his theory of blackbody heat radiation and his quantum hypothesis.
This American Institute of Physics publication, The Theory of Heat Radiation, reprints these two later works - Vorlesungen Uber die Theorie der Warmestrahlung (1906) and his revised and expanded second edition (1914). The 1906 work is in German while the revised 1914 edition is in English. This publication is volume 11 in the outstanding AIP series titled The History of Modern Physics 1800-1950.
I found the lengthy introduction by Allan Needell to be very helpful in placing Planck's work in the proper historical context and in identifying points at which Planck made key changes in his personal views. Much of Needell's introduction is devoted to Planck's gradual acceptance of Boltzmann's probabilistic approach to entropy.
The first fifty pages examine heat radiation from the perspective of classical optics, including topics like radiation at thermodynamic equilibrium, Kirchhoff's law, and blackbody radiation. The next fifty pages, deductions from electrodynamics and thermodynamics, were substantially more mathematical. Planck discussed the Stefan-Boltzmann law of radiation and the Wien displacement law in detail as well as spectral distribution of energy radiation. Section III presents a general procedure for calculating entropy and introduces his quantum hypothesis.Read more ›
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While this is the old book I have wanted to check out for years, it came as a bit of a disappointment when I finaly got it. The robot-based scan-and-flip system used for its re-creation did a pretty poor job in OCR. This is especially bad for all the equations used in this book. The end result is that I had to download the PDF images of this book from the publisher and painstakingly go through each page looking for typos (which are a lot...) To make things worse, the original copy used for the digital creation was full of hand-written notes and highlights, causing even more errors in the OCR results.
Unless you are very, very interested in the subject, you should probably spend the time to read five other books.
This particular reprint is unusable. A certain amount of marginalia, and even some smudged/ambiguous symbols are to be expected, but this is beyond anything I've seen. Virtually every series of equations has at least some crucial part of it completely whited-out, and on some pages it is clear that several centimeters were cropped off of the outside edge, leaving whole columns of text out.
The problem doesn't seem to be the source material, either, as can be seen by comparing the "preview" with the actual book - symbols that are clear in the preview are totally blank in the book (eg bottom of page 21).
Planck's book itself is a treasure; but this version just isn't usable. I've had problems with "Forgotten Books" before, and will be more careful to avoid them in the future.
Amazon was good enough to give an instant refund (less shipping), provided I print some labels and drop it off. Don't make the same mistake -- try a different print.
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