Question

What is Planck length? What is Planck time?

Asked by: Adam Faust

Answer

The Planck length is the scale at which classical ideas about gravity and space-time cease to be valid, and quantum effects dominate. This is the ‘quantum of length’, the smallest measurement of length with any meaning.

And roughly equal to 1.6 x 10-35 m or about 10-20 times the size of a proton.

The Planck time is the time it would take a photon travelling at the speed of light to across a distance equal to the Planck length. This is the ‘quantum of time’, the smallest measurement of time that has any meaning, and is equal to 10-43 seconds. No smaller division of time has any meaning. With in the framework of the laws of physics as we understand them today, we can say only that the universe came into existence when it already had an age of 10-43 seconds.

Answered by: Dan Summons, Physics Undergrad Student, UOS, Souhampton

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Science Quote

'There is no inductive method which could lead to the fundamental concepts of physics. Failure to understand this fact constituted the basic philosophical error of so many investigators of the nineteenth century.'

Albert Einstein
(1879-1955)