The Science of Existence (45-2) Planck Units

Planck Units

All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter. ~ Max Planck

At the heart of string theory and quantum mechanics lies an inherent ambiguity: the impossibility of probing space when the distance considered heads to the infinitesimally small. The idea of space becomes meaningless when it becomes smaller than what physicists term Planck length.

Under contract to find a way to get the most luminance out of a light bulb using the least energy, German physicist Max Planck originated quantum field theory in 1900. Studying thermal radiation, Planck discovered that energy was always emitted or absorbed in discrete units: quanta. Planck expressed this relation in the simple equation: E = hv, where E is the energy of a wave, v is the frequency of the radiation, and h is a very small number that came to be called the Planck constant (aka Planck’s action quantum), which is 6.626 × 10–34 joule/second in meter/kilogram/second units, with just a bit of uncertainty.

Though energy is utterly wavelike, the work of energy only manifests in the discrete amounts specified by Planck’s quantum of action. Phenomenality is confined to granular form – particulate puppets on the strings of waves.

Planck length is a measure derived from Newton’s gravitational constant, the speed of light in a vacuum (c), and Planck’s constant. Planck length is 1.616199 x 10-35 meters.

Comparing Planck length to the size of a bacterium is like comparing a bacterium to the size of the known universe. Essentially, Planck length is the theoretical minimal spatial distance.

Planck time is the time required for light in a vacuum to travel a single Planck length; the shortest sprint imaginable, at 5.391 x 10–44 seconds. Present physics theories have nothing to say about the universe younger than a Planck time instant. Physicists hold out hope that a theory of quantum gravity might illuminate that moment.

Planck length and Planck time are one system of natural units used in physics, known as Planck units. Planck units serve to mathematically normalize the fundamental quantities of matter, thereby elegantly simplifying algebraic expressions which express properties of elementary particles.


If matter’s basic nature is of tiny resonances, beyond Planck’s length, the nature of space cannot be probed. Under string theory, space itself appears an emergent property, appearing from spacelessness.


If quantum physics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet. ~ Niels Bohr