Presented by: 
Dr Timo Nieminen
Date: 
Tue 15 Nov, 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Venue: 
Building 63, Room 358

Wilhelm Wien received the 1911 Nobel Prize for Physics for making "the greatest and most significant contribution" to the thermodynamics of radiation. ("Among researchers in the field now living", but the other main contenders, Max Planck and Lord Rayleigh were both still alive.) At the time, it seemed that this task had been "brought to a certain conclusion", but rather than providing a definite conclusion, this union between thermodynamics and electrodynamics had already given birth to quantum mechanics. Today, physics students often view thermodynamics as something rather quaint, more suited for steam engines and the engineering of power plants, a mere description of phenomena. Thus, as well as talking about what Wien (and some of the others involved did), it is necessary to talk about why the thermodynamics of radiation is both interesting and important, and its role in the quantum revolution.

Timo Nieminen is a researcher and lecturer at The University of Queensland, and, among other things, gets to deal with the thermodynamics of radiation on a daily basis.