Natures secret

At this time many natural philosophers were of the opinion that all major questions in science had been answered. All that remained were a few 'loose ends' and perhaps a few more significant figures in the determination of the values of fundamental physical constants. The blackbody radiation spectrum was one such loose end.

Such an attitude, however, was not shared by Max Planck. He became convinced that something which had started innocuously as 'the colour of light from burning coal' had developed into a phenomenon with much deeper meaning. Perhaps light was a messenger telling us something about the constituents of matter from which it was coming? Were the oscillating atoms and molecules sending us signals which we could not quite interpret? Was there a deep hidden secret of nature encoded in these signals?

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