Blackbody Radiation: A History of Thermal Radiation Computational Aids and Numerical Methods

1st Edition

Sean M. Stewart, R. Barry Johnson

CRC Press
Published August 29, 2016
Reference - 384 Pages - 78 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9781482263121 - CAT# K24348
Series: Optical Sciences and Applications of Light

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In 1900 the great German theoretical physicist Max Planck formulated a correct mathematical description of blackbody radiation. Today, understanding the behavior of a blackbody is of importance to many fields including thermal and infrared systems engineering, pyrometry, astronomy, meteorology, and illumination. This book gives an account of the development of Planck’s equation together with many of the other functions closely related to it. Particular attention is paid to the computational aspects employed in the evaluation of these functions together with the various aids developed to facilitate such calculations.

The book is divided into three sections.

  • Section I – Thermal radiation and the blackbody problem are introduced and discussed. Early developments made by experimentalists and theoreticians are examined as they strove to understand the problem of the blackbody.

  • Section II – The development of Planck’s equation is explained as are the all-important fractional functions of the first and second kinds which result when Planck’s equation is integrated between finite limits. A number of theoretical developments are discussed that stem directly from Planck’s law, as are the various computational matters that arise when numerical evaluation is required. Basic elements of radiometry that tie together and use many of the theoretical and computational ideas developed is also presented.

  • Section III – A comprehensive account of the various computational aids such as tables, nomograms, graphs, and radiation slide rules devised and used by generations of scientists and engineers when working with blackbody radiation are presented as are more recent aids utilizing computers and digital devices for real-time computations.

Scientists and engineers working in fields utilizing blackbody sources will find this book to be a valuable guide in understanding many of the computational aspects and nuances associated with Planck’s equation and its other closely related functions. With over 700 references, it provides an excellent research resource.


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