Planck’s Mistake?

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This is a direct continuation of the previous post Planck’s Proof vs New Proof.

The idea of “backradiation” which serves to motivate CO2 alarmism, can be traced back to Planck’s monumental treatise The Theory of Heat Radiation from 1914, where Planck on page 1 describes the physics of radiative heat transfer as follows:

  • All heat rays which at a given instant pass through the same point of the medium are perfectly independent of one another.

This statement can be read as a support of “backradiation” with two-directed “heat rays” transferring heat energy back and forth between the Earth surface and the atmosphere, about 300 W/m2 of the same size as the total influx from the Sun.

In fact, Planck gives explicit support to backradiation as Prevost’s principle (page 6):

  • A body A at 100 C emits toward a body B at 0 C exactly the same amount of radiation as toward a body B at 1000 C. The fact that the body A is cooled by B and heated by B´is due entirely to the fact that B is weaker and B´a stronger emitter than A.

The following questions present themselves:

  • Is the physics of radiative heat transfer really a physics of two-way independent “heat rays” as two-way streams of quanta of energy or photons like the two-way stream of cars on a busy highway?
  • Is Planck’s “emission of radiation from A towards B” the same as transfer of heat energy from A to B?
  • Is radiative heat transfer carried out by two-way “heat rays” as streams of light quanta?

It seems that physicists evade these questions and resort to compromises such as wave-particle duality with light both particles and waves. The result is confusion. In particular, “radiation” as electromagnetic waves is confused with “radiation” as transfer of heat energy by electromagnetic waves. This is like confusing the content of a letter with the paper carrying the message.

So there we are 100 years after Planck with the same old questions:

  • What is the physics of radiative heat transfer?
  • Is there a physics of “heat rays”?
  • Is “backradiation” physics or fiction?

I give my answer in Mathematical Physics of Blackbody Radiation and Computational Blackbody Radiation. Is it too much to ask for an answer by physicists who are active today? Or shall we seek an answer by a renewed deeper study of the old writings by Planck? Shall we try to give “heat ray” a meaning or shall we put it into the wardrobe of scientific illusions? Is CO2 alarmism based on an elementary mistake by Planck?

26 Comments

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  1. Tor

    I looked at your proof.

    You introduce the form of the cut of by assuming a form ‘in accordance with Wien’s displacement law”.

    But, Wien’s displacement law is a result from the spectra you are going to prove (Planck’s law).

    Hence you are proving the correct spectra by introducing the correct spectra.

  2. claesjohnson

    No Tor, the cut-off is an effect of a small diffusion decreasing with increasing temp.

    • iceskaterfinland

      Claes, I am really struggling to understand what your point of view actually is

      Particularly at lower temperatures there appears to be little relationship between temperature and the wavelength of emission and absorption of particular wavelengths of light in the IR band

      We cannot say these emissions have a temperature dependance.

      If you split off some particular wavelengths of one substance at 10C and another substance at 100C the light will be indistinquishable one from the other.

      Even for hot flames of over 3000C the visible light emission is via lines of emission rather than anything like the continuous emission from a black body radiator.

      Gas mantles, used for camping lights, that apparently are glowing at 4000C due to their extreme brightness are only glowing at 1000C, because the metal oxides in the mantle have the property of thermoluminescence.

      Every single element we know of produces lines of visible light emission when heated to a few thousand degrees rather than anything like a black body which at these temperatures should be dark. These lines of the same wavelength are indistinguishable one from the other regardless of the temperature of emission.

      The light from the sun is unusual because although the surface is only 5000C the inside is many millions of degrees and it is from the inside that the bulk of the light originates

      Demonstrably there is no precise emission temperature dependance. So why should there be precise absorption temperature dependance?

      Therefore as we will expect, the cold light of a fungus can be absorbed into a warm human eye.

      So why are you focusing on black body radiation laws? It seems totally irrelevant to me if you are considering temperatures found in the atmosphere.

      • iceskaterfinland

        Correction: The very bright light given off by fairly low temperature gas mantles containing Cerium is not due to the *temporary* phenonema of thermoluminescence. 🙂

  3. Richard T. Fowler

    “Demonstrably there is no precise emission temperature dependance. So why should there be precise absorption temperature dependance?”

    There can be, because not everything that is emitted has to be absorbed. On this point, you seem to have Claes’ theory confused with the mainstream theory, which says essentially that absorption can sometimes occur even when emission has not, thus spontaneously doubling a quantum of energy. Kind of a quantum photocopier, but without the power supply.

    RTF

    • Tor

      “There can be, because not everything that is emitted has to be absorbed. On this point, you seem to have Claes’ theory confused with the mainstream theory, which says essentially that absorption can sometimes occur even when emission has not, thus spontaneously doubling a quantum of energy. ”

      What is this “mainstream” theory that your refer to? Care to share?

  4. Tor

    I think I understand how you reason now.

    You say, lets pretend the world evolves as a classical algorithm that only stores finite numbers. Then you show that there is a limitation in how an oscillating charge can radiate in such a world which you show motivates the ~ 1/T length. That’s the connection with Wien’s.

    I see a big limitation in this approach and that is that there is a big open question if the world reasonably can be seen as behaving like this.

    If you could explain how measurements in two consecutive Stern-Gerlach apparatus behaves with this type of classical computations, then we can start to talk. Up until then, sorry I really don’t see whats fundamental in it.

  5. iceskaterfinland

    >>The idea of “backradiation” which serves to motivate CO2 alarmism, can be traced back to Planck’s monumental treatise The Theory of Heat Radiation from 1914

    Elsewhere you correctly attribute this to Prevost (1792) who you say is mentioned by Planck

  6. Richard T. Fowler

    I think the main point is Claes is trying to distinguish the idea of a ray of light waves, which can cross back and forth in the same line, from a ray of particles, which if true would collide with each other and thus one reasonably supposes that neither ray would reach the destination. Thus in order for them to be particles, there would have to be essentially two rays, one next to the other, like a two-lane highway. He is suggesting that this is unphysical, and that Planck’s revised “law” resorted to this for some invalid reason.

    Witness Claes’ question above:

    “Is the physics of radiative heat transfer really a physics of two-way independent “heat rays” as two-way streams of quanta of energy or photons like the two-way stream of cars on a busy highway?”

    Looking at the next post, it should hopefully be clear that Claes is hoping to get one or more physicists to pick up the ball where he has left it. I’d expect that he is doing this out of a strong sense of ethics. When he reveals all of his work, if no one else has preceded him with any part of it, who gets the credit?

    RTF

    • iceskaterfinland

      Back in 1800, Prevosts two way transfer of energy was regarded as an ingenius solution. Only 9 years later the 21 year old Humphrey Davy was explaining how the old idea of Caloric was impossible and for the first time in history humans could explain how heat transfer worked in a way that made scientific sense to people today.

      The modern idea is that Photons are not really particles, but rather that light has both particle and wave like properties

  7. Richard T. Fowler

    The statement “traced back” does not necessarily imply “to its origin”. I subscribe to the saying “There is nothing new under the sun.” Thus, for me, Planck may be a source of something without being the origin of it.

    RTF

  8. Richard T. Fowler

    A quantity of waveform radiation might behave in ways that could be seen as being like a particle, but that does not mean that one can impute all properties of particles to a wave.

    If radiation is waves in some medium (and there can be no question that it is), then that is entirely incompatible with the idea of a “stream” or line of corpuscular packages of energy going off in all directions. That idea is incompatible with the known, universally agreed-upon facts about radiation.

    For any readers having doubt about this, picture the situation in 3-D for a single emitting particle of matter. A single wave cycle of that emission is pictured, from a distance, as a sphere (perhaps with small imperfections on its surface) expanding outward with the particle at the center. There is simply no way visible to me that that concept can be reconciled with an idea of corpuscles or “particles” or “packages” of anything, all positioned along the surface of an imaginary reference sphere, and moving outward. Because the further they move, the more distance is put between them. At some point, fairly quickly I would think, the equations that are supposed to describe their location and properties at a certain point in time must break down dramatically. But if the radiation cycle is just a circular (or approximately circular) wave, and nothing more, then it can be readily seen to be elastic, and thus maintain a very smooth, orderly, reasonable behavior as it expands.

    Therefore I conclude that the reality is waves, and the appearance in some situations of particulate behavior is just that, an appearance, like a mirage appears to be water. No substance but rather mere effect. And one hopes that more careful observation will show this.

    RTF

    • Richard T. Fowler

      Sorry, I should have said “spherical (or approximately spherical)”

    • Tor

      I apologize for being blunt, but it can’t be helped.

      You show that you have no clue what so ever what a particle is in modern physics. It has nothing to do with Newtons ideas about corpuscles, where did you get that idea?

      Is it because the name particle still is in use? Maybe it is a bit unfortunate that they never changed the name. In modern physics a particle is excited modes of a quantum field. No more, no less.

      The moral of the story, don’t twist your brain in trying to understand this in the way you are trying to do here.

      There is a Feynman quote that capture this, especially in this particular case

      “One cannot understand … the universality of the laws of nature, the relationship of things, without an understanding of mathematics. There is no other way to do it.”

      • iceskaterfinland

        Tor, I have no idea what the modern view is but when i was taught, the particle like nature of photons was fairly evident. Matter is after all only energy and there can never be a true particle.

        I suspect therefore this is another of your modern definitions that most people do not agree with

  9. claesjohnson

    Waves have a mathematical form as a continuous solutions of a wave equations and thus have physical meaning. Particles are represented by a mathematical singularities of infinities which defy physical meaning. Radiation as waves interacting with matter through wave equations has mathematical and physical meaning. Radiation as streams of particles is trivial mathematics without physical meaning.

    • Tor

      You really need to update yourself on what physics after the 1920:s looks like.

      “Particles are represented by a mathematical singularities of infinities which defy physical meaning.”

      This has nothing to do with a particle as it has been described since the 1920:s or at least the “formation” of the description of a “modern” particle started then. Maybe you are fooling these “freethinking” climate “skeptics” with no real foot in scientific reality, but what’s in it for you? That’s a real question, do you get off misleading these people?

      This view you are presenting here is really outdated and has no bearing in the science of real physics.

      You have an idea that the world behaves as a classical analog computation. But, until that computation can calculate the result of consecutive Stern-Gerlach measurements and similar experiments, nobody needs to care.

      Do you understand why?

  10. Richard T. Fowler

    “The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.”

    – Winston Churchill

    • Tor

      And the relevance for physics is?

      • Richard T. Fowler

        Well among other things, that insight can also be gained from perspective.

      • Tor

        And exactly what is your insight into the Dirac equation for instance.

        And what perspective do you see fit for this equation?

      • Tor

        A hint for you, there is no coincidence that I chose this equation to prove a point.

  11. Richard T. Fowler

    Sorry, I can’t speak to that.

    RTF

  12. Richard T. Fowler

    I do notice from Dirac’s Wiki. article that he is quoted as saying, in criticism of Robert Oppenheimer’s interest in poetry,

    “The aim of science is to make difficult things understandable in a simpler way; the aim of poetry is to state simple things in an incomprehensible way. The two are incompatible.”

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