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Unformatted text preview: In his 1905 paper, Einstein demonstrated that light could only be emitted or absorbed in finite, discrete units. This idea challenged the standard physical theory of the time, according to which light was a continuous wave. In the 1860s and 1870s, James Clerk Maxwell had shown that light is a wave of electric and magnetic fields and that atoms absorbed or emitted light waves in a continuous fashion. However, Einstein showed that the continuous waves of Maxwell's equations could be considered only averages over all the light quanta emitted or absorbed. Einstein used his light-quantum hypothesis to explain another important puzzle, the photoelectric effect. This experimental phenomenon involves the ejection of electrons from a metal irradiated by light. In the experiment, light of various frequencies is shone on the metal. Once a certain threshold frequency is reached, the metal ejects electrons on the metal....
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This note was uploaded on 12/14/2011 for the course BIO 1320 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '09 term at Texas State.
- Fall '09