blackbody

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

blackbody

blackbody, in physics, an ideal black substance that absorbs all and reflects none of the radiant energy falling on it. Lampblack, or powdered carbon, which reflects less than 2% of the radiation falling on it, crudely approximates an ideal blackbody; a material consisting of a carpetlike arrangement of vertically aligned carbon nanotubes was reported in 2008 to have a reflectance of 0.045%. Since a blackbody is a perfect absorber of radiant energy, by the laws of thermodynamics it must also be a perfect emitter of radiation. The distribution according to wavelength of the radiant energy of a blackbody radiator depends on the absolute temperature of the blackbody and not on its internal nature or structure. As the temperature increases, the wavelength at which the energy emitted per second is a maximum decreases. This phenomenon can be seen in the behavior of an ordinary incandescent object, which gives off its maximum radiation at shorter and shorter wavelengths as it becomes hotter and hotter. First it glows in long red wavelengths, then in yellow wavelengths, and finally in short blue wavelengths. In order to explain the spectral distribution of blackbody radiation, Max Planck developed the quantum theory in 1901. In thermodynamics the principle of the blackbody is used to determine the nature and amount of the energy emitted by a heated object. Black-body radiation has served as an important source of confirmation for the big-bang theory, which holds that the universe was born in a fiery explosion c.13.7 billion years ago (according to current calculations). According to the theory, the explosion should have left a remnant black-body cosmic background radiation that is uniform in all directions and has an equivalent temperature of only a few degrees Kelvin. Such a uniform background, with a temperature of 2.7°K (see Kelvin temperature scale), was discovered in 1964 by Arno A. Penzias and Robert L. Wilson, who were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1978 for their work. Recent data gathered by the NASA satellite Cosmic Microwave Background Explorer (COBE) has revealed small temperature fluctuations in the radiation that are thought to be related to the "seeds" of stars and galaxies.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

blackbody
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.