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Mon Nov 5, 2018, 07:14 PM

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

https://bigthink.com/surprising-science/why-the-number-137-is-one-of-the-greatest-mysteries-in-physics

<snip>
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: a magic number that 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 equals 1/137. Or 1/137.03599913, to be precise. It is denoted by the Greek letter alpha - 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 astrobiologist Paul Davies to 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.

....more

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Arrow 28 replies Author Time Post
Reply Why the number 137 is one of the greatest mysteries in physics (Original post)
kentuck Nov 5 OP
gratuitous Nov 5 #1
Amishman Nov 5 #2
Small-Axe Nov 5 #3
Ptah Nov 5 #7
Small-Axe Nov 5 #9
Ptah Nov 5 #10
Small-Axe Nov 5 #16
Ptah Nov 5 #18
Chellee Nov 5 #19
sakabatou Nov 5 #22
Small-Axe Nov 5 #23
Sgent Nov 5 #24
sakabatou Nov 5 #25
grantcart Nov 5 #20
Small-Axe Nov 5 #21
lapfog_1 Tuesday #26
marylandblue Nov 5 #4
MrScorpio Nov 5 #5
mitch96 Nov 5 #12
VOX Nov 5 #6
panader0 Nov 5 #8
Buns_of_Fire Nov 5 #11
DiverDave Nov 5 #15
eleny Nov 5 #13
LineLineReply .
dalton99a Nov 5 #14
renate Tuesday #28
StarryNite Nov 5 #17
rownesheck Tuesday #27

Response to kentuck (Original post)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 07:17 PM

1. Let's hope aliens use arabic numerals and a base 10 number system

Of course, if they're really advanced, they'd know that that's what we use. What would we make of contact from an extraterrestrial that resolved to the number 137?

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Response to gratuitous (Reply #1)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 07:21 PM

2. The significance is based off universal constants, it doesn't matter how you record it

A repeating string of 137 pulses would work.

10001001 would be easy to express as well, would be fairly universal

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Response to gratuitous (Reply #1)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 07:28 PM

3. 137 in Arabic numerals...

Last edited Mon Nov 5, 2018, 11:05 PM - Edit history (1)

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Response to Small-Axe (Reply #3)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 07:52 PM

7. Wrong.

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Response to Ptah (Reply #7)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 08:11 PM

9. Not wrong.

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Response to Small-Axe (Reply #9)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 08:16 PM

10. Would you please go to Wikipedia and correct them?

Arabic numerals, also called Hindu–Arabic numerals,[1][2] are the ten digits: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9; or numerals written using them[a] in the Hindu–Arabic numeral system[5] (where the position of a digit indicates the power of 10 to multiply it by). It is the most common system for the symbolic representation of numbers in the world today.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_numerals


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Response to Ptah (Reply #10)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 10:00 PM

16. Perhaps you should know what you are talking about before correcting others...

when you are wrong?

Here is how Arabs write numerals:



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Response to Small-Axe (Reply #16)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 10:25 PM

18. Arabic numerals - Numbers in Arabic



I'm never wrong.

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Response to Small-Axe (Reply #16)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 10:32 PM

19. so... didn't you write 136 in post 3?

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Response to Small-Axe (Reply #16)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 11:20 PM

22. Interesting how the number four in Arabic

is the same in Hebrew.

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Response to sakabatou (Reply #22)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 11:22 PM

23. Many letters in the two alphabets are also very similar...

as is much of the vocabulary.

Both Semitic languages.

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Response to sakabatou (Reply #22)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 11:32 PM

24. Ancient Aramaic and Hebrew

use the same underlying alphabet -- much like English, French and Spansih all use the Latin alphabet.

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Response to Sgent (Reply #24)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 11:50 PM

25. What I mean is that in both languages, four is "arbah"

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Response to Small-Axe (Reply #3)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 10:35 PM

20. Listen I am on your side on this thread but isn't that 136 not 137?

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Response to grantcart (Reply #20)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 11:07 PM

21. You are correct.

I fixed it. Thanks.

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Response to gratuitous (Reply #1)

Tue Nov 6, 2018, 12:12 AM

26. send 10001001

almost any advanced civilization will understand binary

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 07:43 PM

4. what if there is an even more important number behind that number?

And if we broadcast 137, we are just announcing that we are dummies, ripe for plunder?

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 07:47 PM

5. What if the number is actually a cookbook?

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Response to MrScorpio (Reply #5)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 08:50 PM

12. A twilight zone cook book? n/t

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 07:49 PM

6. I love this kind of puzzlement/wonderment...

It’s more of that sense of *AWE*— things that the human mind can take so far, then the road ends...but there is still territory ahead.

Thanks for posting this, it’s a nice break from all the election-saturation.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 07:53 PM

8. "I got a tab on a liquor store--I play the numbers 444"



Move over 137.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 08:42 PM

11. And even more mysterious, 137 divided by 3.2619047 equals

42.

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Response to Buns_of_Fire (Reply #11)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 09:32 PM

15. Lol, dude!

Made me laugh...42. Yep. The magic number for sure.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 08:53 PM

13. I learned about Tuva because of Feynman

And he figured out why The Challenger exploded.

We lost him way too young.

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Response to eleny (Reply #13)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 09:28 PM

14. .

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Response to dalton99a (Reply #14)

Tue Nov 6, 2018, 01:19 PM

28. this looks like fun!

He was such a fascinating guy. I'll look forward to watching this after Election Day--thanks!

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 10:09 PM

17. Huh?

For me it's the number 48 because pops up all the time and I have no clue why. This has been going on since the early 1970s.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Tue Nov 6, 2018, 04:49 AM

27. My brain

just melted. Thanks guys.

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