Hi there,
Think this is a pretty simple problem! I'm trying to create a header file with some physical constants. The Planck constant is giving me trouble due its tiny size in SI units. Essentially, defining a pre-processor constant using E-notation does not seem to work. My header file looks something like this:

#define PI 3.141592654
#define C 299792458.0
#define H 6.26068E-34

I have written a simple program to test if this works:

#include <stdio.h>
#include <math.h>
#include "constants.h"

double a;
int main()

The output is 0.00000. Not Planck's constant! Any ideas?

9 Years
Discussion Span
Last Post by csurfer

I could tell you to go read the manual page for printf to find the ACTUAL conversion for printing a double.

Note that printf and scanf are NOT perfectly symmetrical with their use of conversion formats. %lf for printf is meaningless.


I expected to get 6.626068e-34. And If I remove the "E-34", the program prints 6.626068 just fine, so I think the rest of my code is OK....


. %lf for printf is meaningless.

Not sure what you mean by this since using %lf seems to work just fine for any other floating point value....


It's been printing the number correctly all along. Since there are 33 zeroes after the decimal point before the 626 part, you get (approximately) zero! Use "%e" to print the number in exponential notation, or "%g" to print it in whichever is more compact. As for "%lf" it is best not to use it, since it is equivalent to "%f" in printf (but not in scanf).


Only the IEEE notation of floating point is able enough to hold the planks constant. As it is a very small number and the first non zero number comes only after nearly 33 digits and so your number gets truncated to first 6 places only. Therefore 0.000000 and as soon as you remove the exponential value it becomes a normal floating point number and hence gets displayed.
Try %e for exponential display but you need to separate the exponential part and involve it separately or else even with all your effort answer will just be 0.

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