h v by Gilbert Stead (ca. 1920)
Note: "v" is the Greek letter "nu".
To the tune "Men of Harlech" (traditional Welsh tune)

Brief summary of the physics in this song

Introduction for this song by Prof. Satterly

Play karaoke music (midi sequence by Barry Taylor):

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1. All black body radiations,
All the spectrum variations,
All atomic oscillations
Vary as “h v.”

2. Ultraviolet vibrations,
X- and gamma-ray pulsations,
Ordinary light sensations
All obey “h v.”

Here’s the right relation
Governs radiation,
Here’s the new,
And only true,
Electrodynamical equation;
Never mind your d/dt2,
V times e or half mv2
(If you watch the factor “c2”)
E equals “h v.”

3. Even matters calorific,
Such things as the heat specific
Yield to treatment scientific
If you use “h v.”

4. In all questions energetic
Whether static or kinetic,
Or electric, or magnetic,
You must use “h v.”


5. There would be a mighty clearance,
We should all be Planck’s adherents
Were it not that interference
Still defies “h v.”


Gilbert Stead 1888-1979
(Image courtesy of the archives of the British Institute of Radiology)
Click here for a brief bio

Max Planck
"I knew the formula that reproduces the energy distribution in the normal spectrum; a theoretical interpretation had to be found at any cost, no matter how high."

The ultraviolet catastrophe

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