How can the theoretical models be half righf

While Wien's displacement law was based on convincing physical argument, and was well verified by experiment, his spectral distribution formula could be treated with suspicion. By judicious use of the exponential function, combined with

According to R-J theory, burning coal would emit ultraviolet X-rays and even y -rays

Figure 11.7 Two 'half right' theoretical models.

According to R-J theory, burning coal would emit ultraviolet X-rays and even y -rays

Figure 11.7 Two 'half right' theoretical models.

adjustable constants, one can find a curve to fit almost any set of experimental data. The Rayleigh-Jeans law, however, had to be treated much more seriously, and many 'natural philosophers' of the time were reluctant to abandon it. It was rigorously derived on the basis of what seemed to be a good model. What is more, it agreed very well with the experimental spectrum at longer wavelengths. There were no arbitrary coefficients; instead there appeared the fundamental physical constant k. One such natural philosopher was Max Planck (1858-1947).

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