Relativity and Cosmology


"Let there be h" ! an Existence Argument for Planck's Constant

Authors: Constantinos Ragazas

Planck's constant h is considered to be a fundamental Universal constant of Physics. And although we can experimentally determine its value to great precision, the reason for its existence and what it really means is still a mystery. Quantum Mechanics has adapted it in its mathematical formalism, as it also has the Quantum Hypothesis. But QM does not explain its meaning or prove its existence. Why does the Universe need h and energy quanta? Why does the mathematical formalism of QM so accurately reflect physical phenomena and predict these with great precision? Ask any physicists and uniformly the answer is "that's how the Universe works". The units of h are in energy-time and the conventional interpretation of h is as a quantum of action. But in this brief note we take a different view. We interpret h as the minimal accumulation of energy that can be manifested in our measurements. Certainly the units of h agree with such interpretation. Based on this we provide a plausible explanation for the existence of Planck's constant, what it means and how it comes about. We show that the existence of Planck's constant is not so much dictated by the Universe but rather by Mathematics and the inner consistence and calibrations of Physics.

Comments: 4 pages

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Submission history

[v1] 16 Feb 2010

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