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Quantum Theory
Max Planck was attempting to derive mathematical equations to describe the spectrum of the radiation given out by a hot body.
 
He found that his equations could not be made to agree with experimental data as long as he considered electro-magnetic radiation to be continuous.
In order to solve this problem, he made the following suggestions
   
1. Electro-magnetic radiation is quantized (radiated in "packets" of energy called quanta or photons)
2. The amount of energy carried by each quantum is directly proportional to the frequency of the radiation.
 
Notice that these two statements could be considered to be confusing.  
Statement 1 suggests that E-M radiation consists of particle-like entities and yet statement 2 refers to the frequency of those same radiations!  
   
Don't worry if this sounds strange... it is still not fully understood what E-M radiations like light really are.  
However, the one thing we can say for sure is that these radiations exhibit both particle-like and wave-like behaviours.  
   
The energy possessed by a quantum is given by  
 
or, in terms of wavelength  
 
where h is a constant, now called Planck's constant, which has a value of 6.6310-34Js  
   
Notice that this is a very, very small figure which explains why we don't normally observe the discontinuous nature of light (and other E-M radiations) in everyday life.  
The size of the individual packets of energy is very small, thus giving the illusion of a continuous stream of... something...  
   
From Planck's simple sounding suggestions has developed what has been called the most successful physical theory ever... quantum mechanics.  
 
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