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Table. 3.

History of science related to electromagnetic effect in introductory physics textbooks.

Textbook Discovery of the photoelectric effect Einstein’s theory Acceptance of the theory

Maxwell, 1865 – prophesied that light is an electromagnetic wave

Hertz, 1887 – proved that light is an electromagnetic wave, and conduct an experiment to show the particle nature of light

Hallwachs, 1888 – discovered that when a zinc plate was irradiated with ultraviolet light, the plate became positively charged.

Thompson, 1899 – discovered electrons protruding from plates

Leonard, 1902 – Conducted photoelectric effect experiments (experiments of light intensity, frequency and number of photons)

Einstein, 1905 – published the thesis

Lewis, 1926 – proposed the name photon

Millikan, 1906 – started an experiment to prove Einstein's equations wrong.

Millikan, 1914 – proved Einstein's equation is correct


Einstein, 1905 – published a paper on the photon theory that extended the quantum concept – published a paper on the photon theory that extended the quantum concept

Millikan, 1913 ~ 1914 – Conducted detailed experiments and obtained results consistent with Einstein's theory


Einstein, 1905 – explained the relationship between the energy and frequency of light by using Planck’s hypothesis.


Early 20th century – It was known that light energy has discrete quantities

Einstein, 1905 – explained the quantum properties of light and the quantization of energy. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for this work

Millikan, 10 years later – The relationship between the frequency of light and the maximum kinetic energy has been proven through experiments.


Einstein explained the photoelectric effect

1969, A new theory is discovered that uses quantum physics but does not require the concept of photons.


Hertz, the late 19th century – observed the photoelectric effect during experiments on thermal radiation

Einstein, 1905 – explained the photoelectric effect by applying Plank’s quiantization concept to electromagnetic waves • Einstein, 1921 – won the Nobel Prize

Einstein's theory was confirmed through experimental observations on the linear relationship between the maximum kinetic energy of electrons and the frequency of light.

New Phys.: Sae Mulli 2023;73:229~241