Tag Archives: John Gribbin

A Universe Lies Therein…

The universe can be handily measured with sugar cubes...
Universe in a sugar cube

If I understand this correctly…

 
Planks constant indicates that objects on the level of the quantum world are something like 10-27 grams in mass.
 
To get a better idea of how mini that is, if you take something that is 1027 cm in lenght it will take a billion billion billion of them to measure 1cm. That’s a lot of quantum thingies, for very little distance.
 
A sugar cube is about a centimeter across.
 
Taking things the other way, if we line up 1027sugar cubes, how far will they reach?
 
Well, John Gribbin, in his 1995 book Schrodinger’s Kittens, explains it like this:
 
“The stanard unit of length measurement in astronomy, the distance light can travel in one year(one light year) is about 1018 cm; so 1027 sugar cubes side by side would stretch across a distance of a billion (109) light years. The most distant objects kown in the universe, some quasars, are about 10 billion light years away. so 1027 sugar cubes would stretch one tenth of the way to the most distant known quasar.”
 
 Reading this blew my mind. It seems that the humble sugar cube serves as not only analogy for the tinyness of the world of quantum physics, but also for the enormity of the world of classical physics.

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