Planck’s Quantum Hypothesis and Einstein’s Contributions to the Foundations of Quantum Theory

  • Herbert CapellmannEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in History of Science and Technology book series (BRIEFSHIST)


This chapter starts with a brief account of the path leading to Planck’s introduction of the quantum of action. Extensive discussions of Einstein’s contributions between 1905 and 1924 follow; they demonstrate the mutual dependence of quantization of radiation and matter. The introduction of the photon in 1905 is extended to include the application of quantization to the properties of matter in 1907. Of decisive importance is Einstein’s Quantum Theory of radiation of 1917, which will serve as starting base for the future matrix mechanics. Further milestones are Einstein’s application of Bose statistics to particles in 1924, the recognition of quantum theoretical indistinguishability , and the predictions of Bose-Einstein condensation and interference-like phenomena for particles with finite mass.


Planck’s constant Boltzmann constant Planck resonators Einstein’s quanta of light Photo-electric effect Wave optics Maxwell theory Interference Specific heat Momentum and energy fluctuations of the radiation field Emission and absorption “Particle-wave duality” Quantum theory of radiation Photon momentum Transition probabilities Bose statistics Fermi statistics Indistinguishability Bose-Einstein condensation De Broglie’s concept of “phase-waves” 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut f. Theoretische PhysikRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany

Personalised recommendations