Natural units

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In physics, natural units are physical units of measurement based only on universal physical constants. For example the elementary charge e is a natural unit of electric charge, or the speed of light c is a natural unit of speed. A purely natural system of units is defined in such a way that some set of selected universal physical constants are normalized to unity; that is, their numerical values in terms of these units become exactly 1.

Contents

Introduction

Natural units are intended to elegantly simplify particular algebraic expressions appearing in physical law or to normalize some chosen physical quantities that are properties of universal elementary particles and that may be reasonably believed to be constant. However, what may be believed and forced to be constant in one system of natural units can very well be allowed or even assumed to vary in another natural unit system.

Natural units are natural because the origin of their definition comes only from properties of nature and not from any human construct. Planck units are often, without qualification, called "natural units", when in fact they constitute only one of several systems of natural units, albeit the best known such system. Planck units might be considered unique in that the set of units are not based on properties of any prototype, object, or particle but are solely derived from the properties of free space.

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