The smallest-yet-still-meaningful measurement of a length: The Planck Length.Though little known outside of the scientific community, the Planck Length was first calculated by Max Planck in 1899. Although he received a Nobel Prize in 1918 for his work in quantum theory, the Planck Length remained on the edges of science until much later. In 1959, a chemist at the University of Minnesota, C. Alden Mead, began writing about it. He thought the Planck Length should get more scientific attention. In 2001, Frank Wilczek, a Nobel Laureate (2004) and the director of MIT’s Center for Theoretical Physics, agreed with Mead. Through letters in the magazine, Physics Today, they concurred. Wilczek then wrote a series of articles about the Planck Length that opened the doors to a wider discussion. In our modest way, we hope that this project opens the doors for high school students and their teachers (and the general public). You can take it as a given that the Planck Length is the smallest measurement of a length, or you can read much more about it; there are several reference just below the line. On most pages there are references below the line just below the two arrows (yes, just below). There is a very good Wikipedia reference, plus Wilczek references, and more. Although most of the physics community agrees with Mead-Wilczek, there is a small percentage who do not. Yet, by taking constants of nature, starting with the speed of light, both the largest and smallest numbers can be calculated. Making sense of them is another story. |
Notes about Look-and-feel and Navigation: If a little thumbnail of any picture is displayed, simply refresh your browser and the full-size version should paste in. Also, if any of the letters from right column, the Archives and Meta are bleeding through the image of the Universe Table, please open your window larger (possibly to full screen). Usually if you click on the last sentence in each description you will go to the next page.
More notes about the how these charts came to be: The simple conceptual starting points An article (unpublished) to attempt to analyze this simple model. There are pictures of a tetrahedron and octahedron. A background story: It started in a high school geometry class on December 19, 2011. The sequel: Almost two years later, a student stimulates the creation of this little tour. Wikipedia on the Planck length Wikipedia on the Observable Universe Could cellular automaton apply to the first 65 doublings from the Planck Length using base-2 exponential notation to PRE-STRUCTURE things? More than things, as in protons and fermions, could the results of cellular automaton be understood as Plato’s forms (perhaps notations 10-to-20) and Aristotle’s ousia (perhaps doublings 20-to-30)? Assuming the Planck Length to be a vertex, and assigning the area over to pure geometries, do we have the basis for form, structure, and the architecture for substances? Then, could it be that this architecture gives rise to an architecture for qualities (notations 30-to-40)? And, as we progress in the evolution of complexity, could it be that in this emergence, there is now an architecture for relations (notations 40-to-50)? If we assume an architecture for relations, could the next be an architecture for systems (notations 50-to-60) and this actually becomes the domain of the Mind? It is certainly a different kind of ontology given it all begins with cellular automaton and base-2 notation provide a coherent architecture (with built in imperfections of the five-tetrahedral cluster also known as a pentastar). |