Richard Feynman said in one of his lectures that “*The stuff which we are made was once cooked in star and spit out*”. This is true, humans, animals, birds, reptiles, rivers, oceans, mountains, buildings, bridges, earth, planets everything was made by the byproduct of stars. The constituent elements of all these matters were created during the catastrophic explosion of stars, known as ‘supernovae’. In other words, all living and non living things are star dust! And also, as we see only matters around us and all around the universe, we can say universe is made up of matters. On a fundamental scale matter is again made up of atoms and atoms are made up of elementary particles {ex. electrons and quarks (extensive study on elementary particles was done in 20^{th} century)}. Finally we can say elementary particles are the building blocks of the universe. But the question is how does this universe behaves or works? Over a period of 500 years the task of scientist or philosophers was to find the answer for these kinds of questions. Some of them were succeeded in decoding nature’s secret and able to explain why nature behaves the way it is now or looks the way it is now? *(Note: In this article Nature=Universe)*

Let me ask you this question, why do you think the nature or everything should be the way it is now? Why can’t in some other way? What made nature to restrict only to three dimensional worlds? These are some of the fascinating questions which are still not understood to the full extent. Nevertheless we still know some of the secrets of nature. If a mechanical robot can give sensible answer to your question, if we can fly like birds through aeroplanes, if we can see the working heart without dissecting human body through NMR technology, it’s because we know some secret about nature and how it operates. The laws of physics tell us how nature operates! Many great peoples have spent their entire life in figuring out the correct laws of nature. Today we have television, telephone, mobile, microwave, bread toaster, washing machine, air conditioner, car, train aeroplanes, etc, to make our life easy. All these things have became our integral part of our life. We are very fortunate to live in this privileged world. All credits and applause should go to the people who dedicated their entire life to make our life privilege.

But now we will talk about some numbers. These numbers show the mysteries of nature. These numbers explains how nature operates. These are very special numbers and hide many secrets of nature. The numbers are as follows.

Mathematically speaking these are just numbers. [G] is the Gravitational Constant, [c] is the speed of light and [h] is the Plank’s Constant. These are called fundamental constants in physics which appear in Classical Mechanics, Special Relativity and Quantum Mechanics respectively.

As I said, mathematically these are just numbers but in physical world these numbers tell you the secrets of nature. By using these numbers we can explain why earth and planets are going around the sun? Why earth is trying to attract every other particle? Through quantum mechanics we can able to go deep inside atoms and explain the properties and behavior of elementary particles. Communication has made us to connect instantly throughout the globe. Today we have all types of sophisticated medical instrument to diagnose various problems. All these are possible because of these numbers! Right from explaining planets going around the sun to NMR technology in hospital and live telecast in television sets at home, we need these numbers. Nothing would have been reality without these numbers. And again, we are leading privileged life because we know these numbers to some accurate level.

I said these numbers are secrets of nature because nature operates through these numbers. We don’t know (we certainly do not know in future) why these numbers are (constants) as the way it is now. But we can certainly say, nature looks the way it is now because of these numbers. To some extent these constants are called universal constants. If there are any changes in these numbers, nature never looks the way it is now!! All our physics theories stands on these numbers and all theories are universal. It means, if you change G , c and h values to some other numbers and if these numbers are applied to physics theories, the theories still give you result and it would suggest you a different kind of nature. Do we have a different kind of nature with different values of G , c and h? Answer is, we don’t know! We have not yet found!

In basic physics Length, Mass and Time are called fundamental constants. We can derive our basic fundamental constants (length, mass and time) in terms of G, c and h by using ‘Dimensional Analysis’ (mathematical process to equate two different quantities through dimensions). Once it is done the values for length, mass and time are as follows.

Here Length Mass and Time are called Plank length, Plank mass and Plank time respectively. This derivation was first done by Max Plank, so the name.

The length in a centimeter scale starts from zero; we measure all our length with respect to zero. And also we measure our time from zero seconds (i.e 0 1 2 3 4 5… seconds). The way we measure all these quantities in our day to day life is by assuming length and time are continuous from zero. This may workout exceptionally better for all our calculations, but in reality this is not true. I mean, the length and time are not continuous from zero. Plank length and Plank time are the lowest limit for the length and time. We don’t know how length and time looks beyond this limit. Theoretically, this is our nature’s limit. Length cannot be defined beyond Plank length and also we cannot distinguish between two events which are happening less that of Plank time. Right now our modern instruments are sensible to measure length at the order of 10^-18m and time 10^-23 seconds. We have not yet reached Plank length and Plank time; it is still at the theoretical level. But even in future no matter how sensitive our instruments, we cannot go beyond Planks length and Planks time. This is the nature’s law! And we don’t know and we never know how our nature (universe) looks beyond this limit. And here the Plank mass has the order of 10^27kg. It is the maximum mass that a point particle (like electron) can have in our universe. That is, this is the upper limit for a point particle in our universe. Electrons and quarks which are nature’s stable point particles are many orders less than that of Plank mass. And again the Plank length, mass and time has those numbers because of G, c and h. So, it is G, c and h numbers which makes nature operates in the way we see it now!

I must repeat this statement again, we don’t have any knowledge of why these quantities (G, c and h) have these numbers, but on a loose note we can easily say it’s because of these numbers our nature or universe looks the way it is now!!! If there is any change in these quantities (G, c and h) nature never looks the way it is now.

[G, c, h]= Our Universe!

(All these fundamental quantities (G, c and h) are dimensional quantities. The actual numbers may change if the units are changed. In this article the units followed was SI units. Whatever be the units the meaning of those numbers will be the same. But in physics and mathematics there are some quantities which are dimensionless. These quantities are independent of units that we use. These are called dimensionless fundamental quantities. Fine structure constant (α) and golden ratio (ϕ) are some examples. Nature hides its beautiful features in these numbers. And also the stories behind the discovery of Gravitational Constant (G), Speed of light (c) and Plank constant (h) are very fascinating and inspiring. I will preserve all these topics for my coming posts.)

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Viswa Keerthy S

Date: 27/12/2013