Max karl ernst ludwig planck, frs (; ; april 23, 1858 – october 4, 1947) was a german theoretical physicist who originated quantum theory, which won him the nobel prize in physics in 1918. planck made many contributions to theoretical physics, but his fame as a physicist rests primarily on his role as an originator of the quantum theory. however, his name is also known on a broader academic basis, through the renaming in 1948 of the german scientific institution, the kaiser wilhelm society (of which he was twice president), as the max planck society (mps). the mps now includes 83 institutions representing a wide range of scientific directions. max planck's quantum theory revolutionized human understanding of atomic and subatomic processes, just as albert einstein’s theory of relativity revolutionized the understanding of space and time. together they constitute the fundamental theories of 20th-century physics.