Scientific Autobiography: and Other Papers

Scientific Autobiography: and Other Papers

Language: English

Pages: 93


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In this fascinating autobiography from one of the foremost geniuses of twentieth-century physics, Max Planck tells the story of his life, his aims, and his thinking. Published posthumously, the papers in this volume were written for the general reader and make accessible Planck’s scientific theories as well as his philosophical ideals, including his thoughts on ethics and morals.

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Max Planck Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers Max Planck With a Memorial Address on Max Planck by Max Von Laue Translated from German by Frank Gaynor Contents Introduction - MEMORIAL ADDRESS A Scientific Autobiography Phantom Problems in Science The Meaning and Limits of Exact Science The Concept of Causality in Physics Religion and Natural Science Notes Titles of essays as they appeared in the German original: Wissenschaftliche Selbstbiographie (1948) Scheinprobleme der

can tell whether some day in the future the same words will not be used in referring to our modern world picture, too. III. But what is the meaning of this constant shift in what we call “real”? Is it not utterly unsatisfactory to all men who seek definite scientific insight? The answer to this question must be, first of all, that our immediate concern is not whether or not the situation is satisfactory, but what its essentials are. But the pursuit of this question will lead to a discovery

are the very paths leading toward a discernment of new laws of interrelations, which would be inaccessible in any other way, and which can then be made relevant for human experience and thus made to serve human needs. This fact can be observed in countless individual instances. Here, too, a far-reaching division of labor has proved its worth excellently. The first step, the moulding of the world picture from its beginnings in ordinary experience, is the task of pure science. The second step, the

suspected. Religion employs in this connection its own characteristic symbols, while natural science uses measurements founded on sense experiences. Thus nothing stands in our way—and our instinctive intellectual striving for a unified world picture demands it—from identifying with each other the two everywhere active and yet mysterious forces: The world order of natural science and the God of religion. Accordingly, the deity which the religious person seeks to bring closer to himself by his

I became interested in the extremely fruitful theory formulated by W. Nernst, of Göttingen. According to this theory, the electric stresses occurring in electrolytic solutions with non-homogenous concentrations arise from the joint effect of the electric force, due to the moving charges and the osmotic pressure. Using this theory as a basis, I succeeded in calculating the potential difference at the point of contact of two electrolytic solutions, and Nernst wrote to me later that my formula had

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