The Origin of Quantum Mechanics (feat. Neil Turok)

How do you get the most light out of a light bulb? That's the task Max Planck took on, and it turned out to be rather...enlightening! The illustrated video introduces physics scholars to Planck's plight, which ultimately changed our understanding of light forever. The content covers his initial work, his challenges in producing the most light using the least amount of energy, and the development of quantum mechanics.

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Instructional Ideas

  • Show the resource to open a unit on quantum mechanics, an advanced study of light, or as an example of how scientists rework theories when new information replaces old
  • Learners may or may not be aware of the history of the light bulb, so supplement the video with some background information
Classroom Considerations

  • Does not require prior knowledge of quantum mechanics, but pupils should be familiar with the electromagnetic spectrum

  • The narrator uses a great analogy to break the information down into more manageable chunks
  • Illustrations reinforce the sizes of waves present in the electromagnetic spectrum

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