In their own words — Max Planck


Max Planck in 1918. Credit: AB Lagrelius & Westphal.

Max Planck is the father of quantum theory, and is thus arguably the father of modern physics. He made an incredible leap in thinking to solve what seemed like an intractable problem in physics — the ultraviolet catastrophe — and thus the idea of the quantum was born. He won the Nobel Prize for this insight in 1918. Planck was also a deeply religious man who had plenty to say about God, religion, and science. He made the following remarks in Religion und Naturwissenschaft (1958), which are quite relevant in light of the recent posts on SFAs:

Under these conditions it is no wonder, that the movement of atheists, which declares religion to be just a deliberate illusion, invented by power-seeking priests, and which has for the pious belief in a higher Power nothing but words of mockery, eagerly makes use of progressive scientific knowledge and in a presumed unity with it, expands in an ever faster pace its disintegrating action on all nations of the earth and on all social levels. I do not need to explain in any more detail that after its victory not only all the most precious treasures of our culture would vanish, but – which is even worse – also any prospects at a better future.