Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Planck - A Review

A Review

An interesting tale of the time prior to World War II and its completion, Planck's life paralleled that of the famous theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It was that man, and the recently revised biography by Eric Metaxes, Bonhoeffer (Abridged): Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, that partially propelled my interest in Max Planck's life. My personal interest in the sciences (evidence by degrees in chemistry and computer science) served as the other focal point of interest in Planck's life.

Though the book focuses on Planck's last years of life, his early childhood and training is discussed by means of flashbacks and recollections from the men and women that knew him before his death. In addition, the book contains a bit of physics explained in ways comprehensible to the average reader.

While, Planck son took an active role in the assassination attempt on Hitler's life (being killed himself in 1945 for his part in the attempted bombing), Planck took a milder position – seeing the cruelty unleashed on his generation, yet choosing to not stand boldly against Hitler hoping to contribute to post war Germany in spite of his age.

Max Planck, nicknamed the Father of Quantum Physics, died at the age of 90 on October 4, 1947. Though his name is well-known, his contributions to physics are not as well-known by the general-public as those of Einstein and other physicist of his time. However, without his research, there might still be holes in our knowledge of modern physics.

The book was an interesting read, fitting well with Bonhoeffer's similarly timed autobiography. It comes with a strong recommendation for anyone interested in the history of science. Though occasionally rambling, as the author moves between events current in Planck's life and those that occurred in the past, the book is enjoyable and helped this reader understand the era as it was played out in mid-20th century among the German people.

This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

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