What was Modern about Modern Physics? – Page 3

equationSimilarly, certain topics in physics also incorporated unthinkable and radical ideas and thoughts. For example the introduction of the dual nature of matter, where certain entities have a dual property was an unimaginable concept. However, this concept enabled physicists to explain the mechanism behind known phenomenon. This concept has its origins in the 1860s where a German scientist, Gustav Kirchhoff, published a statement on the “Black Body Radiation” that he had observed, but was unable to explain the mechanism that caused it through the tools provided by classical physics. In the late nineteenth century, an Austrian physicists named Ludwig Boltzmann suggested that energy states of physical systems may be discrete rather than continuous. In the early twentieth century, Max Planck developed the quantum hypothesis to explain blackbody radiation, where energy was quantized; energy was viewed as discrete, meaning particle like rather than continuous or wavelike. The notion of quantification of energy was the core of his quantum hypothesis. Plank explained the presence of blackbody radiation using his quantum hypothesis, which allowed him to create a mathematical model to represent it. In his explanation, energy could not be allowed to be continuous, rather it must be discrete and jump from one step to another. Planck’s method conformed to the empirical data much better when energy was allowed to be represented as discrete compared to continuous. This was an extremely controversial explanation since energy was previously explained to vary smoothly and gradually, not stepwise as Planck suggested. This was “a departure from or a repudiation of accepted or traditional style or values” , which is precisely the definition of modern.


ChocolateTwentieth century art experienced the force of modernity as well. Prior to the twentieth century, there was a strict amount of materials deemed proper to be used to create art. Materials from which art was constructed was limited to clay, paints, etc. In the twentieth century, art was created from virtually every material. For example, there were art pieces created of chocolate, like Anya Gallaccio’s Stroke. Moreover, every method and material chosen to express something is depended on the artists’ message. This trend was “a deliberate break from classical and traditional methods of expression” , succinctly known as modernism.

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