Although many of the solitons described in previous chapters were discovered and studied in the 20th century, they could have been discovered and understood by physicists of the previous century. What I have in mind, of course, is the distinction between classical (19th century) and quantum physics (20th century). It happened that the quantum revolution in physics started at the frontier of the two centuries. At the end of 1900 the German physicist Max Planck (1858–1947) boldly introduced the notion of quanta of energy in the processes of emission of light by atoms. He also introduced a new fundamental constant in physics, the Planck constant h. The significance of this revolutionary step was not recognized until much later. Planck himself did not realize that he had started one of the greatest revolutions in physics.
KeywordsField Theory Elementary Particle 20th Century Quantum Field Theory Great Revolution
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