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 Tags gravitational constant , irrational numbers , plank's constant

 9th May 2012, 05:19 AM #41 Beerina Sarcastic Conqueror of Notions     Join Date: Mar 2004 Location: A floating island above the clouds Posts: 23,835 Originally Posted by Perpetual Student Why would one expect the fundamental constants to be rational any more than one would expect the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle be rational? This. Unless they are derived from the same thing in a roundabout way, two random irrationals are almost certainly relatively irrational to each other. Of course, this also assumes that a fine enough measurement of the universe will yield an irrational constant, no matter how closely you measure. Perhaps the universe isn't "fine grained" beyond what rationals could cover. Then the constants need only be rational at most, and thus are relatively rational to each other. __________________ "Great innovations should not be forced [by way of] slender majorities." - Thomas Jefferson The government should nationalize it! Socialized, single-payer video game development and sales now! More, cheaper, better games, right? Right?
 9th May 2012, 06:22 AM #42 TubbaBlubba Knave of the Dudes     Join Date: Jul 2010 Location: Communist Kingdom of Sweden Posts: 7,415 Originally Posted by nathan NB If you go and look at the definitions for the SI fundamental units, you'll see all but one are in terms of measurements you can make some specified physical system. The Kg is the only one that's still defined in terms of a unique physical object. There are efforts to redefine the Kg in terms of things like 'number of atoms of Si', but that involves determining how to count 10^23 atoms. I'm not sure how successful those attempts currently are. What about one cubic decimetre of water? __________________ Disagreement begets progress.
 9th May 2012, 06:42 AM #43 edd Graduate Poster     Join Date: Nov 2007 Posts: 1,563 Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba What about one cubic decimetre of water? Too difficult to get it accurate enough. I expect you have to worry about an awful lot more than with a standard lump of platinum-iridium or silicon - you have to get the temperature and pressure spot on, have to have it very chemically pure, very isotopically pure and have no dissolved gases and so on, and once you've got such a sample it will deteriorate a lot faster in purity than your solid kg and can't be cleaned anything like as easily. __________________ When I look up at the night sky and think about the billions of stars out there, I think to myself: I'm amazing. - Peter Serafinowicz
 9th May 2012, 08:08 AM #44 Ziggurat Penultimate Amazing     Join Date: Jun 2003 Posts: 26,215 Originally Posted by Beerina Hmmmm. Are ounces and grams relatively rational? They are now. NIST, for example, actually defines units like ounces and inches as rational fractions of their SI counterparts. If one were to construct an independent set of definitions (for example, using a different object to define your standard pound), that probably wouldn't be the case, but it's simpler to do it this way. So 1 avoirdupois pound = 0.45359237 kilogram, by definition (at least in the US). That's not a pretty rational number, but it is rational. __________________ "As long as it is admitted that the law may be diverted from its true purpose -- that it may violate property instead of protecting it -- then everyone will want to participate in making the law, either to protect himself against plunder or to use it for plunder. Political questions will always be prejudicial, dominant, and all-absorbing. There will be fighting at the door of the Legislative Palace, and the struggle within will be no less furious." - Bastiat, The Law
 9th May 2012, 10:10 AM #45 nathan Zygoticly Phased     Join Date: Nov 2004 Location: Arkham City Posts: 3,169 Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba What about one cubic decimetre of water? Is that a serious question? That definition proved to be insufficiently precise, hence the move the the platinum-iridium cylinder. __________________ Crank works have one advantage: they don't really lose anything in translation. Skeptic That's the beauty of Paranormal claims - there are no failures, only newly discovered restrictions on the ability. Ashles
 9th May 2012, 10:46 AM #46 TubbaBlubba Knave of the Dudes     Join Date: Jul 2010 Location: Communist Kingdom of Sweden Posts: 7,415 Originally Posted by nathan Is that a serious question? That definition proved to be insufficiently precise, hence the move the the platinum-iridium cylinder. I suppose repeatability in measurement trumps universality. __________________ Disagreement begets progress.
 9th May 2012, 11:56 AM #47 Bill Thompson 75 Graduate Poster     Join Date: Apr 2010 Posts: 1,420 Originally Posted by WhatRoughBeast The question is unanswerable, and the reason can be summed up in two words: experimental error. We only know the value of fundamental constants, regardless of numeric base, through experiment, and all experimental results have some range of uncertainty, Therefor, any ratio of two fundamental constants will also have a range of uncertainty. Within this range there are an infinite number of possible rational values, and an infinitely larger number of irrational possibilities. This is a good answer and it goes to the point that science does not even know if most of the physical constants are actually constant.
 9th May 2012, 06:37 PM #48 Dancing David Penultimate Amazing     Join Date: Mar 2003 Location: Central Illinois Posts: 34,727 Originally Posted by Bill Thompson 75 This is a good answer and it goes to the point that science does not even know if most of the physical constants are actually constant. If I understand correctly, some constants have been constant because it would change the spectroscopy of distant objects, something about alpha the fine structure constant. __________________ Hell, dynamiting fish in a barrel is more challenging. - Ladewig I suspect you are a sandwich, metaphorically speaking. -Donn And a shot rang out. Now Space is doing time... -Ben Burch You built the toilet - don't complain when people crap in it. _Kid Eager
 9th May 2012, 07:24 PM #49 Perpetual Student Illuminator     Join Date: Jul 2008 Location: USA Posts: 3,707 It seems to me that if any fundamental constant were to be suspected of being a rational number, there would be a search for some cause of its rationality and a suspicion that it is not fundamental. __________________ It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong. - Richard P. Feynman ξ

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