Sunday, October 24, 2021

Physics Constants and the Planck Scale

  Physics is surrounded by mysteries concerning nature, which man is determined to understand.  An extremely intriguing fact is the existence of physical constants

    When talking about physical constants, there are 3 types: the first refers to those that relate to something more specific.  as the characteristic of some material (for example, the specific heat of copper), the second is numbers that appear frequently and uses a convention to facilitate (for example, the electron charge) and then we have the ones that are said as "fundamental", which are generally related to some phenomenon of nature and some physical theory (for example, the speed of light)

    When we study electricity, it is necessary to use the Coulomb constant (k) to calculate the electric force, but k depends on the vacuum permittivity (ε) also constant, which, in turn, depends on the speed of light (c) .  Thus, we can already see that it is something quite curious, as it relates different areas of Physics.

    One of the most striking constants in science was the Planck constant (h), which was one of the protagonists of modern physics.  This constant was responsible for the quantization of energy from electromagnetic radiation, an assumption made by Max Planck to solve the black body problem and which earned the scientist the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918

    This idea by Planck was of great importance for all of Physics, but here we are going to talk about another concept, the Planck scale.  The scale was premised on the use of natural units to describe parameters such as mass, length, time, temperature and electrical charge

    The scale would be made using five fundamental constants and performing their dimensional analysis, the constants are: reduced Planck (h cut), speed of light (c), gravitational constant (G), Coulomb constant (k) and Boltzmann constant (kB).

    Using this analysis, the Planck units were obtained, as follows:

 Planck mass = 2.2×10^-8kg

 Planck length = 1.6×10-35m

 Planck time = 5.4×10^-44s

 Planck energy = 1.956×10^9J

 Planck temperature= 1.4×10^32K

    As the theory did not yet have a physical meaning, it did not receive much attention in scientific circles.  However, with all the development of quantum physics and general and special relativity, which were related to Planck's constants, gravitational and the speed of light, respectively, the theory gained greater notability.

    Over the years, patterns with the Planck scale were found, which are based on theoretical works and different approaches to nature.

    In some cosmological models, it is theorized that just as there is a minimum temperature (absolute zero) there is a maximum temperature, given by the Planck temperature.  It is also believed that moments after the Big Bang (known as the Planck Era), more specifically 10^-44s (planck time), all matter would be at Planck's temperature and we would have a heap of quarks (Quark-Plasma- gluons).  The radiation from this temperature would have a wavelength of 1.6×10-35m, that is, the Planck length

    These constants also appear in other theories of physics, some idealizing about the “limits” of nature, such as string theory.

    The constants of the scale have values ​​that are very far from the precision of our measuring devices, which makes it impossible to carry out experiments and measurements, preserving this mystery of Physics.


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