Planck Time


Background: In 2012 we began asking about Planck Time, “Has anybody done a base-2 extension of Planck Time to the Age of the Universe?”  I had assumed that somebody somewhere had done it. It would be nice if somebody else had done all that simple-but-tedious math. Though slowly getting to know Max Planck and the Planck Length, we were a long way from knowing how to interpret our little chart.

It would take another two years before I said, “Nobody has done it. Just do it. Stop being lazy.”

Gerard ‘t Hooft and Stefan Vandoren did a base-10 version as the underlying architecture for their book, Time in Powers of Ten: Natural Phenomena and Their Timescales.  Although Newton’s absolute time may well lurk within their commonsense view of time, they are well aware of the other possibilities, perhaps best summarized within the editorial work of David Gross to encapsulate the proceedings of the 23rd Solvay conference on the quantum structure of space and time.

Look up into a clear-night, moonless sky. The stars seem endless. Inevitably someone says, “It goes on forever.” And so we say, “Thank you, Sir Isaac.” But, does it? The answer seems to be, “No, it goes just as far as the current expansion of the universe.”

Eventually we will analyze every element in the equation above. For now, this comparison and these resources are being used to learn more about the Planck Time:

  1. Though our first expert on the  Planck units had been John Baez, he was too important for us. We found Wikipedia to be a terrific introductory resource, especially when we realized that the person who discounted our first Wikipedia article, Stephen Johnson, was an MIT mathematics professor and a wiki editor.
  2. Base-10 models of the universe were ubiquitous. We needed to see a chart with base-2 and base 10 side by side.
  3. Frank Wilczek: Scaling Mt. Planck I, II & III encouraged us to continue exploring the definitions for the Planck Natural Units, base units, and fundamental units.
  4. Wikipedia: Scale of the universe, i.e. orders of magnitude,
  5. “Quantum foam”. New Scientist. Retrieved 29 June 2008.

Also being considered:

  • More to come – In process