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In his 1905 paper - Inhis1905paper, finite,discreteunits....

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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 
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  • Fall '09
  • staff
  • threshold frequency, certain threshold frequency, photoelectric effect., standard physical theory, incident light.

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