Father of quantum mechanics
Father of quantum mechanics is a moniker applied to several individuals. Strictly speaking, Max Planck, Werner Heisenberg, and Erwin Schrödinger have equal claim and recognition. Max Planck unwittingly originated the vast field of quantum theory with his famous Planck Equation and is regarded as the 'true but reluctant father' of the modern concept of 'quantum of energy' that underlies all quantum phenomena. However, according to acclaimed science historian Thomas Kuhn, head of applied physics Douglas A. Stone, cognitive scientist Douglas Hofstadter and many others, including Planck himself, it was Albert Einstein who quantized the radiation field by arguing that light itself was quantized - as opposed to Planck's much more ambiguous argument that quantization only occurred at the sites of emission and absorption. Kuhn, Stone and Hofstadter all argue that it was Einstein, not Planck, who quantized the radiation field. For this reason, and his many other seminal contributions to quantum theory, Einstein is regarded by many science historians as the father of quantum theory.
The fundamental concept that the energy E of any system that absorbs or emits electromagnetic radiation of frequency ν is an integer multiple of an energy quantum E = hν inspired Erwin Schrödinger to quantize the classical wave equation. Schrödinger arrived at what is now known as the Schrödinger equation published in 1926. This formulation is known as wave mechanics, an alternative formulation of quantum theory by Werner Heisenberg was published in a 1925 paper. Heisenberg's work is also referred to as the matrix mechanics formulation of quantum physics for which he was awarded the 1932 Nobel Prize in Physics. As far as attribution for Quantum Mechanics, Heisenberg's Nobel Prize citation awards Heisenberg the credit "for the creation of quantum mechanics.
Additional fine-tuning by Max Born provided the practical way of interpreting probabilities in quantum theory.
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- Einstein, Albert (1905a) [Manuscript received: 18 March 1905], written at Berne, Switzerland, "Über einen die Erzeugung und Verwandlung des Lichtes betreffenden heuristischen Gesichtspunkt" [On a Heuristic Viewpoint Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light] (PDF), Annalen der Physik (Berlin) (in German), Hoboken, NJ (published 10 March 2006), 322 (6), pp. 132–148, Bibcode:1905AnP...322..132E, doi:10.1002/andp.19053220607 – via Wiley Online Library
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