Wednesday, November 19, 2008

SciAm article on Planck mission

The Scientific American online has an nice little article on ESA's Planck mission to study the cosmic microwave background (CMB), the fading afterglow of the Big Bang.

Want to know what science there is still left to do on the CMB after WMAP? Read the official Plank science case here (PDF).

Planck is named after Max Planck, one of the founders of quantum theory, and who introduced quantization of energy in 1900 (and h, Planck's constant) "as an act of despair" in order to correctly predict the frequency dependence of black body radiation.

[Images: (1) CAD image of the Planck satellite from the official Planck web site. (2) Max Planck in 1878, aged 20. He looks spiffy and well groomed in this image, but the 1901 picture of him is a mess!]

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