Copyright (C) 2005 by Lew Paxton Price

Updated March 22, 2014.

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Photons and Red Shift

This is an update to this website which is being added on October 27, 2006. It has been updated again on March 21, 2014.

Special Note:
I have been criticized for using the word "photon" for light when I believe light to be a series of waves.   "Photon" is the term given by particle physicists and relates to the theory known as "quantum electrodynamics" or "QED".   I use the term "photon" because it is the popular word allowed in light theory and the only way I can communicate to most people regarding what is actually a wave packet of light.

The unit kilogram may be considered either mass or force which creates a certain amount of confusion when working with it or in communicating.

The use of the number one (as we use it in our one second denominators) also creates problems because in an equation, the number one is essentially invisible.

Max Planck started quantum theory by showing that radiant energy is proportional to hn where h is a quantum whose value was determined experimentally by Planck and n is the numerical value of the frequency.   Later it was assumed that n was the frequency f although f is actually n/t.   This allowed Compton and those who helped him to attribute energy to hf and momentum to hf/c.

Force is the product of mass and acceleration.

F = ma

Energy is the product of force and distance. This is true of both potential and kinetic energy.

E = mad

Power is energy divided by time.

P = mad/t

Velocity is distance divided by time.

v = d/t

Acceleration is distance divided by time squared.

a = d/t2

Energy = mad = m(d/t2)d = m(d/t)2

Momentum is the product of mass and velocity.

Momentum = mv = m(d/t)

Planck's constant is a hybrid.

h = m(d2/t)

To become energy, it must be multiplied by "1/t", which is a frequency of one.

Truly, it should have been accepted as being energy so that h would have "1/t" included as part of it. Then "n" could be the number of Planck's constants in one second (without the "1/t" because "1/t" was already there. Then the total energy delivered in one second would be "hn/t" and the total energy delivered by nature's photon (which is never one second in duration) would be simply "hn". The value "hn/t" as shown above would be power (energy divided by time).

Planck's constant is defined as 6.757704 x 10-35 meter kilogram second in which kilogram is a unit of force, "ma". A meter is a unit of distance, "d", and a second is a unit of time, "t". So

h = dmat = md(d/t2)t = m(d2/t)

meaning that "h" is definitely defined as a hybrid that is neither momentum nor energy.

As it is, "h" is confusing and useless without "1/t".

Part of the confusion is with the unit of one second, which is frequently not considered because it is "one" in any equation, making it virtually invisible. This, in my opinion, is where much of our trouble in physics lies today.   Because a second is always used and is equal to one, it does not show up in numerical values obtained by experiment and could either be a multiplier or a divisor without anyone being the wiser.

Where this problem shows itself to be extremely important is with photon theory and red shift.   Photon energy is supposed to be equal to hf.   So when red-shifted, the energy appears to have decreased because less waves are detected by the receiver in one second.   Actually, the one-second photon merely takes longer (more that one second) to arrive at destination.   Logically, the energy is still there but spread out over a longer period of time.   This means that the frequency which is actually n/t is defining energy as limited by time and that would mean that hf acts as power rather than energy. In actuality, energy is still conserved.

This, in turn, means that Planck's constant should be re-defined as

6.757704 x 10-35 meter kilogram rather than

6.757704 x 10-35 meter kilogram second,
in which kilogram is a unit of force, allowing "h" to be used as a quantum of energy rather than an impotent and confusing hybrid.

Of course, if one wishes a photon to be a single pollywog that wiggles, then it must keep all of its energy unto itself.   If it were known to be capable of dividing into many units of energy, someone might accuse it of being a series of waves.   So Planck's constant having the units meter kilogram second is the only way that a single intact pollywog can take maximum advantage of the current propaganda put out by particle physicists.

For a more detailed explanation as to how this difficulty could have happened see Radio, particularly the part regarding systems of measurement and the practical system versus the energetical system.   Regardless of how it happened, the units of Planck's constant should be corrected.

Frankly speaking, I first believed that it happened because those who decided to set the units for Planck's constant did so at a time when light was supposed to be particulate in nature.   Certainly, their reputations depended upon their accepting and parroting the dogma that was current at that time.   Planck came well before Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, one of the "father's of the theory of the expanding universe", and Edwin Powell Hubble, who originated Hubble's constant.   In Planck's prime, the theory of the expanding universe and red shift were not known, and in this framework the units attributed to Planck's constant worked well.

Later, Einstein's special theory of relativity was widely acclaimed as a means of discrediting anyone who still believed in a form of ether.   When red shift became an issue, apparently no one of consequence wanted to re-examine what were considered the fundamentals of physics.   If the units for Planck's constant had been understood correctly, so that red shift could be properly explained, then the wave theory for light would have been vindicated to some extent at least.   This would have caused problems for those who asserted that a photon is a particle.   In fact, the misconceptions involved have triggered the writing of articles concluding that the red shift, with photons of less energy (because they arrive later), indicates that the universe is losing energy.

Of course, this makes it appear that some degree of stupidity was involved on the part of the prominent physicists of the time, but our system encourages sheep-like behavior and punishes those who step out of line.   This leads to ludicrous conclusions, especially when new information should require a good look at traditional theories.

Theoretical physics requires a complete overhaul.   Most of it should be scrapped and replaced. Rather than mess with Planck's constant as "h", a new Planck's constant called "H" might be used.   "H" would be equal to the old "h(1/t)".   Perhaps the old "h" is still sufficient for the old concept of the universe.   This may work just fine as long as we are speaking of our immediate locale and no red shift is involved.

Red shift from distant locations can be detected due to the elements having "signatures" when their light is examined.   The shift to longer wavelengths is supposed to be due in part at least to the expansion of the universe.   Regardless of what causes the red shift, the same energy must (and does) arrive here after being sent from distant locations even though its frequencies are is reduced.   Yet by limiting the time for the energy to arrive, to precisely one second (frequency is n/t where n is an integer and t is one second), we cause the energy that we call hf to act as if it were power.   This allows one to compare the power of natural photons with one another because we have defined the number of light waves that can be used in the comparison.   Such a comparison, when explained as comparison of energies, violates the law of conservation of energy.

The energy of a single light wave equals h/t.   The number of waves is n.   So h/t multiplied by n gives the total energy in n waves.   The quantity (h/t)n is most easily provided by frequency, f, so this leads to hf as energy where f is n/t.   If we keep n and t separate we can see how the energy in a single wave can be multiplied and remain energy.   Yet, the use of the limiting t causes problems with red shift.   People tend to think of hf as energy when it is actually arbitrary in the sense that frequency is defined with a single second.   Perhaps, when speaking of red shifted energy received, we should think of energy as


where f1 is the frequency that was sent, w1 is the wavelength at the time and place that the light was sent, and w2 is the wavelength at the time and place that the light was received.   This would mean that the original energy would remain (no breaking of the law of conservation of energy) and that the frequency received could still remain as f2.   The above equation will also apply to, and correct, blue shifted energy.   This is a simple and unsophicated solution, but it might work well enough until the physics overhaul is done.

Planck's constant should be converted to a form of energy by realizing that "1/t" should become part of it. It has been part of it all the time, but this fact was not recognized because when "one" is in the equation at "t", it is invisible.   Also, thinking in terms of particles prevents scientists from discovering this level.   Should scientists begin to accept the fact that the universe is entirely composed of a form of dynamic ether, the correct explanation can be used in lieu of the misleading bandaid proposed above.

See The Light Equation and Laughing at the Emperor, Theories for further explanation.

Google had displayed an incorrect value for Planck's constant. Perhaps it has been changed. I haven't looked lately.

Google has stated that the units for Planck's constant are meter2 kilogram/second - but so are the units for Planck's constant equal to kilogram meter second.   The problem is with the metric system which uses the term kilogram as a unit of mass as well as a unit of force.   When kilogram is used as a unit of mass, then the correct units for Planck's constant are
meters2 kilogram/second as Google states.   When kilogram is used as a unit of force, the units for Planck's constant become
kilogram meter second.   The way this happens is shown below using dimensional analysis.

m = mass,     d = distance,     t = time,
v = velocity = d/t,     a = acceleration = d/t2
kilogramF = ma where kilogram is force
kilogramm = m where kilogram is mass
meter = d
second = t

Then: kilogramF meter second = (ma)dt = m(d/t2)dt = md2/t

kilogramm meter2/second = md2/t

Regardless which type of kilogram is used, it is obvious that Planck's constant, as currently accepted, is the product of force and distance which is energy, multiplied by time - which proves that it is accepted as the product of energy and time.   My point is that Planck's constant should be understood correctly as energy only for one passage of a light wave - and that the product of Planck's constant and frequency should be understood as power.

Unfortunately, the google version uses the joule second value along with the units of meter2kilogram/second version.   The two don't mix and mixing them causes the wrong values to be found.   The joule second version must be divided by 9.807 to arrive at the meter kilogram second version or the meter2 kilogram / second version.

In browsing the internet, it is obvious that many supposed flawless sites, including some of the "encyclopediae" are using the same version for Planck's constant that is found on google.   This has led to a rash of incorrect values for planck units as well as some very poor explanations.   This is a problem with an uncensored medium of expression such as the internet.   The internet is a wonderful thing that should remain uncensored.   However, when using it, it is wise to do one's own research and calculating, as many of the sites are simply copying bad information from other sites.

The correct versions of Planck's constant as of the 1950's follow.   Although sometimes the numbers change slightly to the right of the decimal as more correct research is done, the numbers for this constant have not changed substantially since the 1950's.   Consequently, the values given are essentially correct.

h = 6.6252 x 10-34 joule-second

h = 6.7577 x 10-35 kilogram meter second

h = 6.7577 x 10-35 kilogram meter2 / second

According to my encyclopedia, Planck introduced his constant in 1905 to explain the distribution in frequency of radiant energy in a cavity of a body as a function of the temperature of that body.   He found that he could derive the correct law of distribution with two assumptions: (1) each oscillator producing the radiant energy can possess only discrete amounts of energy or nhf where n is an integer and f is the frequency of that oscillator, and (2) the probability that an oscillator has the energy nhf is proportional to e-nf/kT where k is the Boltzman constant and T is the absolute temperature.

Bear in mind that Planck was experimenting with many oscillators (electrons) providing light in many frequencies over a period of time that was not exactly one second in duration.   He was using temperature to measure the energy.

In the 1880's, Wilhelm Hallwachs and Heinrich R. Hertz discovered the photoelectric effect.   This was analyzed further by later experimenters.   Incident light can eject electrons from metals.   The velocities of these electrons are independent of the intensity of the light but increase with its frequency.   The number of electrons ejected per unit time is proportional to the intensity of the light.

In 1905, Einstein proposed that the photoelectric effect was caused by light concentrated in bundles or quanta, of energy hf, where h is Planck's constant and f is the frequency of the light.   Each of the bundles can be absorbed only as a whole and by an individual electron.   Thus the absorbing electron is given an additional kinetic energy equal to hf.   In passing through the surface barrier of the metal, the electron loses from this energy a portion which can be designated as hfo.   The kinetic energy with which the electron emerges is then given by:

KE = (1/2)mv2 =  h ( f - fo )

This gives the maximum energy of ejection, since electrons can also lose some energy inside the metal before reaching the surface.   The equation indicates that unless f is greater than fo the electrons cannot escape, so there exists a low frequency limit for the ejection of any electrons.   The equation gives no reference to the intensity of the light, but gives the energy of the ejected electrons in terms of frequency only.

This expression, when later modified to take into account the various energies possessed by the electrons before they absorb the light, agreed with the results of the experiments in detail.

The author of this portion of the encyclopedia goes on to state:   The equation itself, however, is completely paradoxical from the point of view that regards light as an electromagnetic wave and the electrons as charged material particles. [In nether theory, there is no such paradox.]

In the foregoing, neither Planck nor Einstein considered the possibility that in the energy they were attributing to hf they should have considered "h" to have "1/t" included as part of it and "n" to be separate.

Eddington published his book, The Expanding Universe, in 1933.   Hubble's work with red shift came even later.   The idea that hf is energy created the notions of energy being lost just because wavelength is lengthened.   The theories which followed were the result of a foundation in which math only was used to determine reality.   When hf is understood as being a what it actually is rather than just energy when applied to red shift, logic may again prevail.   We should always beware of the integer one which is our Achilles heel in math and which, when applied to time, can be very misleading.


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