Re: Prestidigitation

From: George Levy <>
Date: Tue, 03 Apr 2001 11:49:42 -0700

Russell Standish wrote:

> Thanks - now I just need to find the money to buy the electron
> microscope required for observing my prize!
> Cheers
> George Levy wrote:
> >
> > John Mikes and Russell Standish deserve the prestidigitation prize for finding
> > Plank's constant! The prize is worth ten million in gold,which they will share
> > and which, I am glad to announce, is in my financial capacity to award them.
> > Since their prodigious feat was performed by simply selecting the units used in
> > expressing h, the prize will also be formulated in a similar fashion. The unit
> > used to express the prize will be the gold atom. Ten million gold atoms shared
> > between them will make each of them a multimillionaire. Congratulations to both
> > of you!
> >
> > George Levy
> >

Actually my first attempt at formulating that prize was not in gold atoms but in
Plank constant units.... except that these units are in joules/sec. as given by the

E = hf or h = E/f

That kind of quantity would never do as a prize.

So I attempted to convert the energy into mass (to use gold as a prize):

M = hf/c^2 or
ML = h/c where L = wavelength

The problem is that there is indeterminacy between mass and wavelength and I did not
want to be stuck with an arbitrarily large prize to have to pay out. :-)

I settled for the gold atom as the unit for the prize. However, I found myself
facing the puzzle of why does the gold atom (or even the proton) have its own
particular mass which in fact resolved the mass frequency indeterminacy I was
grappling with earlier.

Received on Tue Apr 03 2001 - 12:05:34 PDT

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