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Einstein and the Quantum by A. Douglas Stone

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CHAPTER 14

PLANCK’S NOBEL NIGHTMARE

The two constants [h, k] … which occur in the equation for radiative entropy offer the possibility of establishing a system of units for length, mass, time and temperature which are independent of specific bodies or materials and which necessarily maintain their meaning for all time and for all civilizations, even those which are extraterrestrial and non-human.

—MAX PLANCK

It was the fall of 1908, and Svante Augustus Arrhenius was determined to see that Max Planck received the Nobel Prize for Physics that year. Arrhenius, a scientist of impressively broad and bold speculations, had recently returned from a tour of Europe, where he was received warmly as befitted the first Swedish winner of the newly minted ...

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