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39
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4answers
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Dimensionless Constants in Physics

Forgive me if this topic is too much in the realm of philosophy. John Baez has an interesting perspective on the relative importance of dimensionless constants, which he calls fundamental like alpha, ...
16
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5answers
2k views

How can the speed of light be a dimensionless constant?

This is a quote from the book A first course in general relativity by Schutz: What we shall now do is adopt a new unit for time, the meter. One meter of time is the time it takes light to travel ...
13
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4answers
1k views

Is the Avogadro's constant equal to one?

Question: Is the Avogadro's constant equal to one? I was tasked with creating a presentation on Avogadro's work, and this is the first time I actually got introduced to the ...
11
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4answers
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What's keeping us from simply redefining Avogadro's Number / the Mole as a definite integer?

This might be a question to ask in a Chemistry site, but because there is a lot of talk about redefining many units of measurements in terms of Avogadro's Number / the Mole, I was wondering why we ...
11
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5answers
2k views

How to get Planck length

I know that what Planck length equals to. The first question is, how do you get the formula $$\ell_P~=~\sqrt\frac{\hbar G}{c^3}$$ that describes the Planck length? The second question is, will any ...
10
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6answers
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Why and how is the speed of light in vacuum constant, i.e., independent of reference frame?

I was told that the Galilean relative velocity rule does not apply to the speed of light. No matter how fast two objects are moving, the speed of light will remain same for both of them. How and why ...
9
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4answers
914 views

Why does the speed of light $c$ have the value it does?

Why does light have the speed it does? why is it not considerably faster or slower than it is? I can't imagine science, being what it is, not pursuing a rational scientific explanation for the speed ...
9
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1answer
243 views

Is the fine-structure constant a parameter of the standard model?

According to the wikipedia entry on the fine-structure constant: In fact, α is one of the about 20 empirical parameters in the Standard Model of particle physics, whose value is not determined ...
9
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4answers
426 views

Is the Fine Stucture constant constant?

I have read that the fine structure constant may well not be a constant. Now, if this were to be true, what would be the effect of a higher or lower value? (and why?)
8
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3answers
2k views

Have I discovered how to calculate the proton's mass using only integers?

Could it be possible that the mass of the proton can be calculated by a series of integer sequences? Or is this just a curiosity? $$\sum_{m=1}^{\infty } \frac{1}{10^{26}(m^2+1)_{2m}}=$$ ...
8
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7answers
1k views

What is the proof that the universal constants ($G$, $\hbar$, $\ldots$) are really constant in time and space?

Cavendish measured the gravitation constant $G$, but actually he measured that constant on the Earth. What’s the proof that the value of the gravitation constant if measured on Neptune would remain ...
8
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1answer
324 views

Gravitational constant in higher dimensions?

From Newton's law of gravitation we know that $$F=G\frac{m_1m_2}{r^2}$$ where $G$ is gravitational constant. We can also see that it has dimensions $$[G]=\frac{[L]^3}{[M][T]^2}$$ and we have a ...
8
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3answers
136 views

Is there a limit to acceleration?

As we all know the speed of light is the limit at which energy/matter can travel through our universe. My question being: is there a similar limit for acceleration? Is there a limit to how quickly ...
7
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3answers
300 views

why there is no accuracy of the measured value of $G$?

With the advancement of Modern Technology still there is no accuracy of the measured value of $G$ Gravitational Constant, why!?
7
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2answers
2k views

Has the speed of light changed over time?

Could someone judge my (stoner) hypothesis that the speed of light has changed over time -- ie. as the universe has expanded in volume light has slowed down, perhaps going so far as back to the big ...
7
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0answers
125 views

Why is the Planck length the shortest measurable length? [duplicate]

I quote from the Wikipedia article on Planck length: According to the generalized uncertainty principle, the Planck length is in principle, within a factor of order unity, the shortest ...
6
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1answer
557 views

Why can you remove the gravitational constant from a computer game simulation?

I've seen in a few gravity simulation games (ie. bouncing balls) the equation: force = G * m1 * m2 / distance^2 shortened to this by removing the gravitational ...
6
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4answers
339 views

Cases of any known fundamental physical constants changing within our locality?

Has there been any cases where the only explanation has been that at least one of the physical constants must have changed to explain an experiment/event/obervation? I am not intrested in large scale ...
6
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3answers
255 views

Is there a simple way to compute some physical constant from Feynman diagram statistics?

I've been playing around writing some software to generate Feynman diagrams for QED, respecting the vertex "rules" described here, and avoiding creating isomorphic duplicates. So from a starter ...
6
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1answer
135 views

Why is it meaningless to speak about changes in a dimensional constant?

Every so often,* we get a question about what would happen should there be a change in a physical constant that contains dimensional information, such as $\hbar$, $c$, $G$, or often "the scale of the ...
6
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1answer
312 views

Is there an explanation for the 3:2:1 ratio between the electron, up and down quark electric charges?

I understand that the NNG formula relates $Q$, $I_3$, and $Y$ and can be derived in QCD; does this unambiguously predict the electric charge ratios without making assumptions about the definitions of ...
6
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2answers
259 views

What constant varies in the fine structure constant?

Using the renormalization group approach, coupling constants are "running". If we apply this to the fine structure (coupling) constant, we do know that, e.g., at energies around the Z mass, $$\alpha ...
5
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2answers
479 views

How can I explain the scientific basis of the constant speed of light to a $c$-decay proponent?

This Phys.SE question asks why and how the speed of light is constant. I would like to ask a related, almost converse question: Given that the speed of light is constant, how could I explain to a ...
5
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1answer
290 views

Deriving or justifying fundamental constants

Is there a fundamental way to look at the universal constants ? can their orders of magnitude be explained from a general points of view like stability, causality, information theory, uncertainty? ...
5
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2answers
345 views

Is the fine structure constant actually a constant or does its value depend on the energy scale?

The value of the fine structure constant is given as $$ \alpha = \frac{e^2}{4\pi\varepsilon_0\hbar c} = \frac{1}{137.035\,999..} $$ It's value is only dependent on physical constants (the elementary ...
5
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1answer
223 views

Definition of Fine-Tuning

I've looked in and out the forum, and found no precise definition of the meaning of fine-tuning in physics. QUESTION Is it possible to give a precise definition of fine-tuning? Of course, I guess ...
5
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1answer
291 views

Variable speed of light in cosmology

In this paper, D. H. Coule argues that warp drive metrics, like the one proposed by Alcubierre, require the exotic matter to be laid beforehand on the travel path by conventional travel. At section 5 ...
4
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5answers
860 views

Can Planck's constant be derived from Maxwell's equations?

Can mathematics (including statistics, dynamical systems,...) combined with classical electromagnetism (using only the constants appearing in chargefree Maxwell equations) be used to derive the Planck ...
4
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3answers
206 views

What is the opposite of the Planck length?

What "large size" unit of length could be considered at the opposite end of spectrum from Planck's length? Is there a table of smallest and largest value for various physical quantities that can be ...
4
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5answers
654 views

Why are $\mu_0$ and $\epsilon_0$, which appear in electrostatics and magnetostatics, related to the speed of light which appears in electrodynamics?

$\epsilon_0$ and $\mu_0$ appear in electrostatics and magnetostatics. When we include time varying fields we have electrodynamics and the appearance of c which turns out to be related to $\epsilon_0$ ...
4
votes
1answer
132 views

Official definition of astronomical units

As it is relatively easy to find an official value for a large number of physical constants, (thanks to CODATA), it is not so easy for some units widely used in astronomy (Wikipedia, Google and IAU ...
4
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3answers
169 views

In what subfields and how far can the naive limit $c\rightarrow\infty$ of special relativity be carried?

Even if many interesting similarities between the classical and the quantum mechanical framework have been worked out, e.g. in the subject of deformation quantization, in general, there are some ...
4
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1answer
146 views

Fine Tuned Universe

Is the fine tuning that cosmologists talk about (that our Universe is fine tuned for intelligent life) is the same as the fine tuning of the squared mass parameter of the Higgs in the Standard Model? ...
4
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1answer
453 views

Additional merits to Wetterich's “Universe without expansion” compared to standard cosmological redshift interpretation?

A recent news item in Nature promotes Wetterich's preprint "A Universe without expansion". All sounds very exciting but hard to judge for non-experts. As I understand from the Nature's article, the ...
4
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0answers
110 views

Physics of Anathem

Disclaimer: I am not asking whether or not the events that occur in Anathem are possible. I understand that this book is a work of speculative science fiction and this site has no interest in it as ...
4
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5answers
715 views

Planck mass is about the mass of one eyebrow hair

Unlike most Planck units named after "Planck" such as Planck length, Planck temperature, etc, the Planck mass seems more closed to daily life. It is about $10^{-5}$g, same order of magnitude of one ...
3
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2answers
311 views

Uncertainty of permittivity of vacuum [duplicate]

Question: The value of permittivity of vacuum, $\epsilon_0$, is given with absolutely no uncertainty in NIST Why is this the case? More details: The permeability of vacuum can be given by ...
3
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2answers
57 views

Maxwell's Equations: Induction

What is the reason for some writing Faraday's Induction Law as $$ \nabla \times E= -\frac{1}{c}\frac{\partial B}{\partial t} $$ versus $$ \nabla \times E= -\frac{\partial B}{\partial t} ?$$
3
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2answers
358 views

What is the smallest existing thing in theory and law?

What is the smallest existing thing in theory and law?
3
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5answers
272 views

Is the gravitational constant $G$ a fundamental universal constant?

Is the gravitational constant $G$ a fundamental universal constant like Planck constant $h$ and the speed of light $c$?
3
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3answers
484 views

Why are the classical electron radius, the Bohr radius and the Compton wavelength of an electron related to each other?

Using the definition of the fine-structure constant $\alpha = \frac{4 \pi \epsilon_0 \hbar c}{e^2}$ and the Compton wavelength of an electron $\lambda_c = \frac{h}{m_e c}$ the classical electron ...
3
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2answers
187 views

Fundamental Constants in a theory of everything (TOE)

Do physicists ever expect to be able to derive the fundamental constants of nature from theory? For example, if string theory or some other theory unites the four forces, would the theory be ...
3
votes
1answer
129 views

Units for physical constants

Someone told me that units for $G$ and $\epsilon_0$ (gravitational constant and Coulomb's constant) are placed there simply to make equations work dimensionally and that there is no real physical ...
3
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3answers
148 views

Curious relation between the dependance in ℏ of Planck units and units dimensions

Looking at Planck units, there seems to be a curious rule between the dependance in $\hbar$ of a Planck unit and the unit dimensions of the corresponding physical quantity. Let the dimensions of the ...
3
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1answer
203 views

If Fine Structure Constant in not uniform in space what would that imply for cosmic background?

Recently J.Webb submitted paper which has extraordinary claim - that Fine Structure Constant is different in different directions in space! He (with others) measured $\alpha$ using quasar spectrum ...
3
votes
1answer
174 views

Were the physical constants chosen randomly by the nature?

Were the physical constants chosen randomly by the nature or it was determined by some source of… matter(?). I really don't have idea. If you could help me it'd be awesome.
3
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1answer
114 views

The fine structure non-constant

If the fine structure constant is different in different parts of the universe, then what would happen if we travelled to those regions? (I realise this is completely impossible as they are ...
2
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2answers
262 views

Newton's Law of Graviation: Why $G$ and not e.g. $\dfrac{1}{4\pi G_0}$?

I've been wondering, in Coulomb's Law, $k_e = \dfrac{1}{4\pi\epsilon_0}$. Therefore, why do we use $G$ in Newton's Law of Gravitation? What if the constant is more like Coulomb's Law, e.g. $G = ...
2
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3answers
170 views

What widely recognized organizations set standards used by physics?

I recently answered a question about the meaning of the word "dimension" as used in physics. In that response, I provided the definition given in the International Vocabulary of Metrology (VIM) and ...
2
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2answers
184 views

The famous drop of $c$

In this, in my opinion, intriguing speech, Rupert Sheldrake, tells the story of the drop between the measured valued of $c$ in 1928 and 1945. When he goes to visit the Head of Metrology of the Physics ...