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Smallest set of fundamental physical constants?

  1. Oct 12, 2013 #1
    Hi, everyone.

    I once saw a science program with the danish astrophycisist Jens Martin Knudsen, who said that there exists seven absolutely fundamental constants of nature, and if one of these were changed ever so slightly, it would lead to drastic changes in the whole universe. So my question is: what is the smallest set of physical constants, by which all other contants of nature, in principle, can be derived? How many are needed? I know the set is probably not unique, but a sensible set then. I guess three of them would be the speed of light in vacuum, Plancks constant and Newtons gravitational constant.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 12, 2013 #2


    Staff: Mentor

  4. Oct 12, 2013 #3
    Hi DaleSpam, thanks for the link. Very interesting page. I guess these 26 constants are the most fundamental if we look so deep into the fundamentals of particle physics. So I surely got, what I asked for :-).

    But if we lift us up, just above this very deep level, where plancks constant, speed of light etc. is considered as universal constants, is there a similar collection of independent constants, from which you could calculate all others.

    I'm quite sure JMK said 6 or 7 such constants, but unfortunately without specifing which. What could he had ment? He was primarily an astrophycisist, so he was probably not that deeply immersed into the field of particle physics.
  5. Oct 12, 2013 #4


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    It's tough to say, since we don't know what he said, what he meant, or when he said it (which year).

    I would link to exactly the same page as in post #2 above, but DaleSpam had already done it :smile:.
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