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# Planck's constant

### or Planck constant

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noun Physics.

the fundamental constant of quantum mechanics, expressing the ratio of the energy of one quantum of radiation to the frequency of the radiation and approximately equal to 6.624 × 10−27 erg-seconds. Symbol: h

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## Origin of Planck's constant

First recorded in 1905–10; named after M. K. E. Planck

## Words nearby Planck's constant

planchet, planchette, Planck, Planck constant, Planck, Max, Planck's constant, Planck's law, Planck's radiation law, plane, plane angle, plane chart

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## Scientific definitions for Planck's constant

Planck's constant

[ plängks ]

A physical constant that is used extensively in quantum mechanics and fixes the scale of quantization of many phenomena, such as the relation between the energy of a photon (a quantum of light) and its wavelength. Its value is approximately 6.626 X 10-34 joule-seconds (equivalent to units of angular momentum). Planck's constant is fundamental to phenomena as the quantization of angular momentum and is used in Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. See also Dirac's constant quantize.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

## Cultural definitions for Planck's constant

Planck's constant

A universal constant, first discovered by Max Planck, that states the mathematical relationship between the frequency of an electromagnetic wave and the energy in that wave. Planck's discovery unifies the seemingly contradictory observations that energy sometimes acts like a wave and at other times acts as if it is made up of particles.

## notes for Planck's constant

Knowing Planck's constant sets the scale of energy for events in which the atom and subatomic particles take part.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.