I always thought it was 42… Turns out it’s 137!

# I always thought it was 42… Turns out it’s 137!

Guest *“forty-two” ** “one-thirty-seven” *by David Middleton

For those unfamiliar with Douglas Adams, this won’t help…

## Why the number 137 is one of the greatest mysteries in physics

## Famous physicists like Richard Feynman think 137 holds the answers to the Universe.

PAUL RATNER

31 October, 2018

- The
fine structure constanthas mystified scientists since the 1800s.- The number
1/137might hold the clues to the Grand Unified Theory.- Relativity, electromagnetism and quantum mechanics are unified by the number.

Does the Universe around us have a fundamental structure that can be glimpsed through special numbers?

The brilliant physicist

Richard Feynman(1918-1988) famously thought so, saying there is a number that all theoretical physicists of worth should “worry about”. He called it “one of the greatest damn mysteries of physics: amagic numberthat comes to us with no understanding by man”.That magic number, called the

fine structure constant, is a fundamental constant, with a value which nearly equals1/137. Or 1/137.03599913, to be precise. It is denoted by the Greek letteralpha – α.What’s special about alpha is that it’s regarded as the best example of a

pure number,one that doesn’t need units. It actually combines three of nature’s fundamental constants – the speed of light, the electric charge carried by one electron, and the Planck’s constant, as explains physicist and astrobiologistPaul Daviesto Cosmos magazine. Appearing at the intersection of such key areas of physics as relativity, electromagnetism and quantum mechanics is what gives 1/137 its allure.Physicist

Laurence Eaves,a professor at the University of Nottingham, thinks the number 137 would be the one you’d signal to the aliens to indicate that we have some measure of mastery over our planet and understand quantum mechanics. The aliens would know the number as well, especially if they developed advanced sciences.[…]

Superforest,Climate Change

via Watts Up With That? https://ift.tt/1Viafi3