Planck’s Second Quantum Theory

Part of the SpringerBriefs in Physics book series (SpringerBriefs in Physics)


The notion of a zero-point energy is a result of quantum theory and has no proper counterpart in classical physics. It was introduced by Planck in 1911, more than a decade before the emergence of modern quantum mechanics. Planck’s so-called second quantum theory, on which the zero-point energy was based, was discussed for a brief period of time, but by 1920 at the latest it was abandoned by most physicists. On the other hand, although Planck’s theory was dismissed, the idea of a zero-point energy lived on. No one could tell whether it was more than just an idea.


Quantum theory Max Planck Zero-point energy Heat radiation 


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© The Author(s) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Science StudiesAarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Physics, Astronomy and GeosciencesTowson UniversityTowsonUSA

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