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Proceedings Paper

Revising your world-view of the fundamental constants
Author(s): John P. Ralston
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Paper Abstract

Fundamental constants" are thought to be discoveries about Nature that are xed and eternal, and not dependent on theory. Actually constants have no de nition outside the theory that uses them. For a century units and constants have been based on the physics of the previous millennium. The constants of physics changed radically with quantum mechanics and modern theory, but their use and interpretation was unfortunately locked in early. By critically re-examining the actual structure of the present system in a new light, we nd that obsolete concepts of Newtonian physics impede the understanding and use of quantum theory. Confronting the di erence nds that Planck's constant cannot be observed in quantum theory, and is entirely a construct of human history and convention. A cascade of seeming paradoxes and contradictions occurs when Plancks constant is eliminated, yet the end result is a simpler and cleaner vision of what quantum mechanics and quantum eld theory really involve. By eliminating redundant holdovers the number and nature of fundamental constants is revised. By avoiding the Newtonian conception of mass and associated experimental errors the electron mass is determined with a relative error 67 times smaller than before. The fundamental unit of electric charge is determined more than 100 times more accurately than the current determination of international committees.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 October 2013
PDF: 16 pages
Proc. SPIE 8832, The Nature of Light: What are Photons? V, 883216 (1 October 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2023332
Show Author Affiliations
John P. Ralston, The Univ. of Kansas (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8832:
The Nature of Light: What are Photons? V
Chandrasekhar Roychoudhuri; Al F. Kracklauer; Hans De Raedt, Editor(s)

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