Planck Exhibition

Max Planck - The Reluctant Revolutionary

Carmen Hammer, Dieter Hoffmann, Christian Joas, Horst Kant, Christoph Lehner, Simone Rieger, Jürgen Renn, Arne Schirrmacher, Milena Wazeck

Cooperation Partners: 

Max Planck Society, Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin


Motive of the exhibition "Max Planck - The Reluctant Revolutionary" (Design: gewerk)

Max Planck (1858-1947) is one of the 20th century’s most important physicists. His quantum theory, which he produced around 1900, heralded the beginning of modern physics and is comparable with Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity in terms of scientific significance. Planck unintentionally, and initially without realizing it, shook the foundations of classical physics, opening up a completely new field of research. He himself was sceptical for a long time about the radical change he had set in motion. In addition to his scientific work, Planck was also heavily involved in the organization of science. In this he played a key role in the development of all of the structures that still shape the German research environment today. In the course of his long life, which was greatly overshadowed by personal tragedy, Planck saw the transition in German history from empire to a new beginning after the Second World War. He died in 1947 at the age of 89. The Max Planck Society was honouring its namesake by organizing an exhibition in 2008 in the German Museum of Technology in Berlin on the 150th anniversary of his birthday. Exhibits from scientific history, original documents and equipment reveal the many facets of Planck’s life and vividly illustrate his pioneering research on the quantum theory. The exhibition provides an insight into the history of physics from the end of the 19th century, and displays examples of current research being carried out at the Max Planck Society.

  • Spektrum der Wissenschaft, Biografie 1/2008, Max Planck, Heidelberg: Spektrum der Wissenschaft Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, 2008
  • Dieter Hoffmann, Max Planck: Die Entstehung der modernen Physik, München: C. H. Beck, 2008

Funding Institutions

Max Planck Society