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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index P > Max Planck Quotes > Law

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Max Planck
(23 Apr 1858 - 4 Oct 1947)

German theoretical physicist who introduced the quantum theory (1900), for which he was awarded the 1918 Nobel Prize for Physics. This assumes that energy is not infinitely subdivisible, but ultimately exists as discrete amounts he called quanta.


Max Planck Quotes on Law (9 quotes)

>> Click for 71 Science Quotes by Max Planck

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How do we discover the individual laws of Physics, and what is their nature? It should be remarked, to begin with, that we have no right to assume that any physical law exists, or if they have existed up to now, that they will continue to exist in a similar manner in the future. It is perfectly conceivable that one fine day Nature should cause an unexpected event to occur which would baffle us all; and if this were to happen we would be powerless to make any objection, even if the result would be that, in spite of our endeavors, we should fail to introduce order into the resulting confusion. In such an event, the only course open to science would be to declare itself bankrupt. For this reason, science is compelled to begin by the general assumption that a general rule of law dominates throughout Nature.
— Max Planck
Max Planck, Walter Henry Johnston, The Universe in the Light of Modern Physics (1931), 58.
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My original decision to devote myself to science was a direct result of the discovery which has never ceased to fill me with enthusiasm since my early youth—the comprehension of the far from obvious fact that the laws of human reasoning coincide with the laws governing the sequences of the impressions we receive from the world about us; that, therefore, pure reasoning can enable man to gain an insight into the mechanism of the latter. In this connection, it is of paramount importance that the outside world is something independent from man, something absolute, and the quest for the laws which apply to this absolute appeared to me as the most sublime scientific pursuit in life.
— Max Planck
'A Scientific Autobiography' (1948), in Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers, trans. Frank Gaynor (1950), 13.
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Religion belongs to the realm that is inviolable before the law of causation and therefore closed to science.
— Max Planck
In Max Planck and James Vincent Murphy (trans.), Where is Science Going?, (1932), 168.
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The highest court is in the end one’s own conscience and conviction—that goes for you and for Einstein and every other physicist—and before any science there is first of all belief. For me, it is belief in a complete lawfulness in everything that happens.
— Max Planck
Letter from Planck to Niels Bohr (19 Oct 1930). As cited in J. L. Heilbron, The Dilemmas of an Upright Man: Max Planck As Spokesman for German Science (1987), 143.
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The quantum hypothesis will eventually find its exact expression in certain equations which will be a more exact formulation of the law of causality.
— Max Planck
In Max Planck and James Vincent Murphy (trans.), Where is Science Going?, (1932), 143.
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The worth of a new idea is invariably determined, not by the degree of its intuitiveness—which incidentally, is to a major extent a matter of experience and habit—but by the scope and accuracy of the individual laws to the discovery of which it eventually leads.
— Max Planck
In Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers (1968), 109-110.
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This is one of man's oldest riddles. How can the independence of human volition be harmonized with the fact that we are integral parts of a universe which is subject to the rigid order of nature's laws?
— Max Planck
In Max Planck and James Vincent Murphy (trans.), Where is Science Going?, (1932), 107.
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We have no right to assume that any physical law exists, or if they have existed up to now, that they will continue to exist in a similar manner in the future.
— Max Planck
Max Planck and Walter Henry Johnston, The Universe in the Light of Modern Physics (1931), 58. This is part of a longer quote also on this web page, which begins: “How do we discover…”.
Science quotes on:  |  Existence (468)  |  Immutable (25)  |  Physical Law (15)

What led me to my science and what fascinated me from a young age was the, by no means self-evident, fact that our laws of thought agree with the regularities found in the succession of impressions we receive from the external world, that it is thus possible for the human being to gain enlightenment regarding these regularities by means of pure thought
— Max Planck
Max Planck and Ch. Scriba (ed), Wissenschaftliche Selbstbiographie (1990), 9. Quoted in Erhard Scheibe and Brigitte Falkenburg (ed), Between Rationalism and Empiricism: Selected Papers in the Philosophy of Physics (2001), 69
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See also:

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
Quotations by:Albert EinsteinIsaac NewtonLord KelvinCharles DarwinSrinivasa RamanujanCarl SaganFlorence NightingaleThomas EdisonAristotleMarie CurieBenjamin FranklinWinston ChurchillGalileo GalileiSigmund FreudRobert BunsenLouis PasteurTheodore RooseveltAbraham LincolnRonald ReaganLeonardo DaVinciMichio KakuKarl PopperJohann GoetheRobert OppenheimerCharles Kettering  ... (more people)

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