Learning from Philip Warren Anderson…

Died: March 29, 2020

Philip W. Anderson, Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology
of Materials, Bowen Hall, 70 Prospect Avenue, Princeton, New Jersey 08540

ArXiv: Last Words on the Cuprates and Four Last Conjectures
CV: More and Different
Nobel laureate

First email: February 7, 2019 at 11:11 AM

Dear Prof. Dr. Philip Anderson:

With your legacy, you will never stop teaching and you’ll forever be a de facto professor.
You, Freeman Dyson, and Gerald Holton are young with thoughts and insight.
We all wish you the best of your days. And, we thank you.

In 2001 Frank Wilczek reintroduced Planck’s base units and took them a small step beyond numerology.

Doing a bit of Zeno-like thinking in a high school geometry class, we divided by 2 the edges of a tetrahedron and on paper continued going inside the resulting smaller tetrahedrons (and octahedrons). In 45 steps within we were down in the range of particle physics. In 67 more steps we were at the Planck Wall with all the Planck base units. Planck’s simple formula for time stood out: Planck Time is equal to Planck Length divided by the speed of light. Therefore, the speed of light is equal to Planck Length divided by Planck Time. We checked that math along our little scale and it, of course, was a variable, but within two percent of the speed in a vacuum right out to the Planck doubling for Planck Time to the Age of the Universe (there are 202 doublings). What does it mean? It surely is an unconventional inquiry. It is all simple math (and geometry). What are we missing? Our friends, Hawking, Steinhardt, et al seemingly ignored the Planck’s base units. They were wrestling in other ways. I think they are missing something!

So, yes, what are we missing? I thank you and wish you well.

Most sincerely,