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Defending the Christian Worldview, Creationism, and Intelligent Design

Otangelo Grasso: This is my personal virtual library, where i collect information, which leads in my view to the Christian faith, creationism, and Intelligent Design as the best explanation of the origin of the physical Universe, life, and biodiversity


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Defending the Christian Worldview, Creationism, and Intelligent Design » Astronomy & Cosmology and God » Quantum and particle physics » 1/137, The fine-structure constant: The big baffling number at the heart of a cosmic coincidence

1/137, The fine-structure constant: The big baffling number at the heart of a cosmic coincidence

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1/137, The fine-structure constant: The big baffling number at the heart of a cosmic coincidence

https://reasonandscience.catsboard.com/t2772-1-137-the-fine-structure-constant-the-big-baffling-number-at-the-heart-of-a-cosmic-coincidence

Electromagnetism and the “Greatest Damn Mystery in Physics”

Movement of acompass’s needle is driven by the electromagnetic force.
The strength of the electromagnetic force is determined by a dimensionless constant called the fine-structure constant (\alphaα).\alpha = 0.00729351 \approx \frac{1}{137}α=0.00729351≈1371


Due to \alphaα having a value of \frac{1}{137}1371​, the speed of an electron in a hydrogen atom is \frac{1}{137}1371​ the speed of light. It also sets the fraction of electrons that emit light when they strike phosphorescent screens at \frac{1}{137}1371​.
Determining such fundamental properties as the speed of electrons in atoms means \alphaα determines how large atoms are, which in turn determines what molecules are even possible.
A different \alphaα would change properties like the melting point of water and the stability of atomic nuclei.
Physicists calculated that had \alphaα differed from its current value by just 4%, the carbon-12 excited energy level would not be in the right place. There would be almost no carbon in the universe if \alphaα were \frac{1}{131}1311​ or \frac{1}{144}1441​.

Feynman: It has been a mystery ever since it was discovered more than fifty years ago, and all good theoretical physicists put this number up on their wall and worry about it. Immediately you would like to know where this number for a coupling comes from: is it related to pi or perhaps to the base of natural logarithms?
Nobody knows. It’s one of the greatest damn mysteries of physics: a magic number that comes to us with no understanding by man. You might say the “hand of God” wrote that number, and “we don’t know how He pushed his pencil.” We know what kind of a dance to do experimentally to measure this number very accurately, but we don’t know what kind of dance to do on the computer to make this number come out, without putting it in secretly!

https://alwaysasking.com/is-the-universe-fine-tuned/

Natalie Wolchover Physicists Nail Down the ‘Magic Number’ That Shapes the Universe December 4, 2020
Because 1/137 is small, electromagnetism is weak; as a consequence, charged particles form airy atoms whose electrons orbit at a distance and easily hop away, enabling chemical bonds. On the other hand, the constant is also just big enough: Physicists have argued that if it were something like 1/138, stars would not be able to create carbon, and life as we know it wouldn’t exist. Physicists have more or less given up on a century-old obsession over where alpha’s particular value comes from; they now acknowledge that the fundamental constants could be random, decided in cosmic dice rolls during the universe’s birth.
https://www.quantamagazine.org/authors/natalie/

Léo Morel, Zhibin Yao Determination of the fine-structure constant with an accuracy of 81 parts per trillion  02 December 2020
The fine-structure constant α is of particular importance because it sets the strength of the electromagnetic interaction between light and charged elementary particles, such as the electron and the muon. Here we use matter-wave interferometry to measure the recoil velocity of a rubidium atom that absorbs a photon, and determine the fine-structure constant α−1 = 137.035999206 with a relative accuracy of 81 parts per trillion.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2964-7

IGOR TEPER Inconstants of Nature  JANUARY 23, 2014
The fine-structure constant, α, is among the most ubiquitous and important of the fundamental constants of nature. It governs how strongly light and matter interact.  If it were even slightly different from its present-day value of about 1/137, the universe would look very different indeed—and would almost certainly be inhospitable to life.
https://nautil.us/issue/9/time/inconstants-of-nature

The fine-structure constant, α- is the measure of the strength of the electromagnetic interaction between photons and electrons. 
https://arxiv.org/pdf/1412.2040v2.pdf

Sidney Perkowitz Light dawns 18 September 2015
Perhaps the most intriguing of the dimensionless constants is the fine-structure constant α. It was first determined in 1916, when quantum theory was combined with relativity to account for details or ‘fine structure’ in the atomic spectrum of hydrogen. In the theory, α is the speed of the electron orbiting the hydrogen nucleus divided by c. It has the value 0.0072973525698, or almost exactly 1/137. Today, within quantum electrodynamics (the theory of how light and matter interact), α defines the strength of the electromagnetic force on an electron. This gives it a huge role. Along with gravity and the strong and weak nuclear forces, electromagnetism defines how the Universe works. But no one has yet explained the value 1/137, a number with no obvious antecedents or meaningful links. The Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman wrote that α has been ‘a mystery ever since it was discovered… a magic number that comes to us with no understanding by man. You might say the “hand of God” wrote that number, and “we don’t know how He pushed his pencil”.’ A slightly different value for α would change the Universe; for instance by making it impossible for stellar processes to produce carbon, meaning that our own carbon-based life would not exist.
https://aeon.co/essays/why-is-the-speed-of-light-the-speed-of-light

Leonard Susskind The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design 2006
The fine structure constant could easily be larger, the photon massive, quarks heavier, or even worse, electrons, photons, or quarks might not be on the list. Any one of these would be enough to eliminate our presence.
https://3lib.net/book/2472017/1d5be1

The Fine-structure constant
Malcolm H. MacGregor Power of (Alpha): Electron Elementary Particle Generation With (Alpha)-quantized Lifetimes ( World Scientific ) 2007
In quantum electrodynamics QED the coupling constant α gives the interaction strength for an electron to produce a photon
https://3lib.net/book/939656/2552b2

David Lau: Fine-structure constant
In physics, the fine-structure constant, also known as Sommerfeld’s constant, is a fundamental physical constant characterizing the strength of the electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles. α is the fine-structure constant = 1/137.035999173(35). This is the most precise value of α obtained experimentally ( as of 2012) based on a measurement of g ( Lande g-factor, the magnetic moment of the electron) using the “quantum cyclotron” apparatus, together with a calculation via the theory of QED that involved 12,672 tenth-order Feynman diagrams: This measurement of α has a precision of 0.25 parts per billion.
http://preprocrastinate.com/2015/11/22/fine-structure-constant/

The Mysterious 137
Feynman’s Conjecture: A general connection of the quantum coupling constants with p was anticipated by R. P. Feynman in a remarkable intuitional leap some 40 years ago as can be seen from the following much quoted extract from one of Feynman’s books.
There is a most profound and beautiful question associated with the observed coupling constant, e, the amplitude for a real electron to emit or absorb a real photon. It is a simple number that has been experimentally determined to be close to -0.08542455. (My physicist friends won’t recognize this number, because they like to remember it as the inverse of its square: about 137.03597 with about an uncertainty of about 2 in the last decimal place. It has been a mystery ever since it was discovered more than fifty years ago, and all good theoretical physicists put this number up on their wall and worry about it.) Immediately you would like to know where this number for a coupling comes from: is it related to p or perhaps to the base of natural logarithms?  Nobody knows. It’s one of the greatest damn mysteries of physics: a magic number that comes to us with no understanding by man. You might say the “hand of God” wrote that number, and “we don’t know how He pushed his pencil.” We know what kind of a dance to do experimentally to measure this number very accurately, but we don’t know what kind of dance to do on the computer to make this number come out, without putting it in secretly!
Richard Feynman (1985). QED: the strange Theory of Light and Matter. Princeton University Press. p129. ISBN 0-691-08388-6. https://3lib.net/book/643810/98188b
http://www.feynman.com/science/the-mysterious-137/

PAUL RATNER: Why the number 137 is one of the greatest mysteries in physics   31 October, 2018
Famous physicists like Richard Feynman think 137 holds the answers to the Universe.  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: 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. The number preoccupied other great physicists as well, including the Nobel Prize winning Wolfgang Pauli (1900-1958) who was obsessed with it his whole life.

"When I die my first question to the Devil will be: What is the meaning of the fine structure constant?" Pauli joked.

Pauli also referred to the fine structure constant during his Nobel lecture on December 13th, 1946 in Stockholm, saying a theory was necessary that would determine the constant's value and "thus explain the atomistic structure of electricity, which is such an essential quality of all atomic sources of electric fields actually occurring in nature." One use of this curious number is to measure the interaction of charged particles like electrons with electromagnetic fields. Alpha determines how fast an excited atom can emit a photon. It also affects the details of the light emitted by atoms. Scientists have been able to observe a pattern of shifts of light coming from atoms called "fine structure" (giving the constant its name). This "fine structure" has been seen in sunlight and the light coming from other stars. The constant figures in other situations, making physicists wonder why. Why does nature insist on this number? It has appeared in various calculations in physics since the 1880s, spurring numerous attempts to come up with a Grand Unified Theory that would incorporate the constant since. So far no single explanation took hold. Recent research also introduced the possibility that the constant has actually increased over the last six billion years, even though slightly. If you'd like to know the math behind fine structure constant more specifically, the way you arrive at alpha is by putting the 3 constants h,c, and e together in the equation -- As the units c, e, and h cancel each other out, the "pure" number of 137.03599913 is left behind. For historical reasons, says Professor Davies, the inverse of the equation is used 2πe2/hc = 1/137.03599913. If you're wondering what is the precise value of that fraction - it's 0.007297351.
https://bigthink.com/surprising-science/number-137-physics?rebelltitem=3#rebelltitem3

Michael Brooks One mysterious number determines how physics, chemistry and biology work. But controversial experimental hints suggest it's not one number at all 6 October 2018
1/137 is the number that determines how stars burn, how chemistry happens and even whether atoms exist at all.
https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg24031982-200-theres-a-glitch-at-the-edge-of-the-universe-that-could-remake-physics/

Luke Barnes Letters to nature  July 25, 2020
The strength of electromagnetism (fine-structure constant, alpha) is everywhere in physics, from the sizes of nuclei and atoms, to the structure of molecules, to the interaction of light with electrons, to the stability of stars, to supernovae explosions, to the formation of galaxies. Thinking that you can just change the constant, make atoms smaller or larger, and everything will be fine, is naive to say the least. The value of alpha in our universe is 0.007. If alpha were 0.019, free protons would decay into neutrons, leaving no hydrogen in the universe. If alpha were larger than 0.1 or smaller than 0.0001, stars would not be stable. These aren’t the tightest fine-tuning limits on a constant, but they are still worth describing correctly.
https://letterstonature.wordpress.com/2020/07/25/a-thick-layer-a-fine-tuned-critique-of-arvin-ash/#more-5139

In the 1920s, British astronomer Sir Arthur Eddington became fixated on a curious coincidence regarding a huge ratio number, 10^40 2

The ratio of the electric force to gravitational force (presumably a constant), is a large number (about 10^40), while the ratio of the observable size of the universe (when reaching an equilibrium radius, see later in this article) to the size of an elementary particle is also a large number, surprisingly close to the first number (also about 10^40) 3  It is hard to imagine that two very large and unrelated numbers would turn out to be so close to each other.  Why are they?

1937, Dirac wrote a 650-word letter to the journal Nature. The letter considered the number 10^40, the ratio of the strength of the electromagnetic force to the gravitational force. But Dirac compared this number to the ratio of the radius of the universe to the radius of a proton. The results were very similar, certainly similar enough to convince Dirac that there was a connection. It is certainly unusual to find such a huge number in science, and even more surprising to find approximately the same number arising from two different calculations. As John Barrow said: "There must exist some undiscovered mathematical formula linking the quantities involved. They must be consequences rather than coincidences." This is called the Dirac large numbers hypothesis.

The Dirac large numbers hypothesis (LNH) is an observation made by Paul Dirac relating ratios of size scales in the Universe to that of force scales. The ratios constitute very large, dimensionless numbers: some 40 orders of magnitude in the present cosmological epoch. According to Dirac's hypothesis, the apparent similarity of these ratios might not be a mere coincidence but instead could imply a cosmology with these unusual features. 1

The ratio of the strength of the electromagnetic force to the gravitational force is 10^40. The modified gravity hypothesis (MGH) suggests that the universe has a certain equilibrium radius, and the universe will expand until it reaches that radius.

So the strength of the electromagnetic force controls the size of the atom, and the strength of gravity determines the size of the universe. We are dealing with objects which are in an equilibrium state, meaning the forces
holding them together are precisely equal to the forces pulling them apart. This results in an equilibrium radius for the object, and it is this equilibrium distance which interests us. The MGH suggests the universe has an equilibrium radius in much the same way that an atom has an equilibrium radius.

Gravity dominates the universe and determines its size in much the same way as the electromagnetic force determines the overall size of atoms. It is as though the universe is a scaled-up atom!

Neil Turok considered this simplicity in his 2015 talk at the Perimeter Institute called The Amazing Simplicity of Everything

http://tinyurl.com/turoklecture
"The astonishing thing about recent discoveries in physics is that they tell us the universe is surprisingly simple and regular, on the tiniest scale and on the hugest scale. It's only complicated in the middle. To first approximation, the universe is absolutely uniform in all directions. The whole universe is as simple as the simplest atom. If you think about a hydrogen atom, how many numbers do you need to describe an atom? An atom is a pretty simple thing: you have a nucleus, you have an electron going around it, you have the force of electrical attraction between the nucleus and the electron. Well, it turns out to describe the universe you need just one number. That number describes the universe — fewer numbers than you need to describe a single atom. So the universe turns out to be the simplest thing we know."

At these two extremes of scale — the atom and the universe — we find similar situations. We find objects in stable, equilibrium situations dominated by a single particular force. This results in simplicity at the two extremes of scale.

The equilibrium radius which reveals deep truths about the universe. The ratio of this radius of the universe, AND  the radius of an atom ARE BOTH 10^40. This is a prediction of a well-founded hypothesis, constructed from
first principles, a hypothesis which makes predictions and agrees with known measurements.

So far, we have calculated the value for the ratio of the size of the universe to the size of an atom, and found the value equal to 10^40. Crucially, this value does not necessarily have to alter with time. For the next step, Dirac considered this 10^40 value and found it was the same as the ratio of the strength of the electromagnetic force to the gravitational force. Is this a just a crazy coincidence? Or could the radiuses of the universe and an atom be related to the strengths of the electromagnetic and gravitational forces in some way?

Firstly, considering the atom. What forces control the size of the atom? Well, the strong force is short range, confined to the nucleus, and so does not play a role. And gravity is too weak at these scales. So it is the electromagnetic force which controls the overall shape of the atom, holding electrons in orbit around the nucleus.

Secondly, considering the universe, the electromagnetic force tends to cancel in atoms, positive charge equalling negative charge, so large objects become electrically neutral. Hence, the electromagnetic force does not play a role in shaping the universe. It is gravity which is the dominant force in the overall size of the universe, even though it is by far the weakest of the four forces. Gravity dominates because all mass has the same gravitational charge (there is no such thing as negative mass). Hence, for very large objects, the force of gravity steadily accumulates until it becomes the dominant force.

The problem of fine tuning is one of the biggest embarrassments facing modern physical and biological science. These “coincidences” may be indicating the existence of some deep, underlying unity involving the fundamental constants, linking the microcosm to the macrocosm just as the ancients saw without mathematics. 3  The anthropic principle just states the obvious: “We are here because we are here.” It has little explanatory power.

Ethan Siegel What Is The Fine Structure Constant And Why Does It Matter? May 25, 2019,

1/137, The fine-structure constant: The big baffling number at the heart of a cosmic coincidence Https%3A%2F%2Fblogs-images.forbes.com%2Fstartswithabang%2Ffiles%2F2017%2F11%2FSingle_electron_orbitals
The each s orbital (red), each of the p orbitals (yellow), the d orbitals (blue) and the f orbitals (green) can contain only two electrons apiece: one spin up and one spin down in each one. The effects of spin, of moving close to the speed of light, and of the inherently fluctuating nature of the quantum fields that permeate the Universe are all responsible for the fine structure that matter exhibits.

Why is our Universe the way it is, and not some other way? There are only three things that make it so: the laws of nature themselves, the fundamental constants governing reality, and the initial conditions our Universe was born with. If the fundamental constants had substantially different values, it would be impossible to form even simple structures like atoms, molecules, planets, or stars. Yet, in our Universe, the constants have the explicit values they do, and that specific combination yields the life-friendly cosmos we inhabit. One of those fundamental constants is known as the fine structure constant, and Sandra Rothfork wants to know what that's all about, asking:

Can you please explain the fine structure constant as simply as possible?

Let's start at the beginning: with the simple building blocks of matter that make up the Universe.

1/137, The fine-structure constant: The big baffling number at the heart of a cosmic coincidence Https_25
The proton's structure, modeled along with its attendant fields, show how even though it's made out of point-like quarks and gluons, it has a finite, substantial size which arises from the interplay of the quantum forces and fields inside it. The proton, itself, is a composite, not fundamental, quantum particle. The quarks and gluons inside it, though, along with the electrons that orbit atomic nuclei, are believed to be truly fundamental and indivisible.

Our Universe, if we break it down into its smallest constituent parts, is made up of the particles of the Standard Model. Quarks and gluons, two types of these particles, bind together to form bound states like the proton and neutron, which themselves bind together into atomic nuclei. Electrons, another type of fundamental particle, are the lightest of the charged leptons. When electrons and atomic nuclei bind together, they form atoms: the building blocks of the normal matter that makes up everything in our day-to-day experience. Before humans even recognized how atoms were structured, we had determined many of their properties. In the 19th century, we discovered that the electric charge of the nucleus determined an atom's chemical properties, and found out that every atom had its own unique spectrum of lines that it could emit and absorb. Experimentally, the evidence for a discrete, quantum Universe was known long before theorists put it all together. In 1912, Niels Bohr proposed his now-famous model of the atom, where the electrons orbited around the atomic nucleus like planets orbited the Sun. The big difference between Bohr's model and our Solar System, though, was that there were only certain particular states that were allowed for the atom, whereas planets could orbit with any combination of speed and radius that led to a stable orbit. Bohr recognized that the electron and nucleus were both very small, had opposite charges, and knew that the nucleus had practically all of the mass. His groundbreaking contribution was understanding that electrons can only occupy certain energy levels, which he termed "atomic orbitals." The electron can orbit the nucleus only with particular properties, leading to the absorption and emission lines characteristic to each individual atom.

1/137, The fine-structure constant: The big baffling number at the heart of a cosmic coincidence Https_26
When free electrons recombine with hydrogen nuclei, the electrons cascade down the energy levels, emitting photons as they go. In order for stable, neutral atoms to form in the early Universe, they have to reach the ground state without producing a potentially ionizing, ultraviolet photon. The Bohr model of the atom provides the course (or rough, or gross) structure of the energy levels, but this already was insufficient to describe what had been seen decades prior.

This model, as brilliant and clever as it is, immediately failed to reproduce the decades-old experimental results from the 19th century. All the way back in 1887, Michelson and Morely had determined the atomic emission and absorption properties of hydrogen, and they didn't quite match the predictions of the Bohr atom. The same scientists who determined that there was no difference in the speed of light whether it moved with, against, or perpendicular to the motion of the Earth had also measured the spectral lines of hydrogen more precisely than anyone ever before. While the Bohr model came close, Michelson and Morely's results demonstrated small shifts and extra energy states that departed slightly but significantly from Bohr's predictions. In particular, there were some energy levels that appeared to split into two, whereas Bohr's model only predicted one.

Those additional energy levels, which were very close to one another and also close to Bohr's predictions, were the first evidence of what we now call the fine structure of atoms. Bohr's model, which simplistically modeled electrons as charged, spinless particles orbiting the nucleus at speeds much lower than the speed of light, successfully explained the coarse structure of atoms, but not this additional fine structure.

That would require another advance, which came in 1916 when physicist Arnold Sommerfeld had a realization. If you modeled a hydrogen atom as Bohr did, but took the ratio of a ground-state electron's velocity and compared it to the speed of light, you'd get a very specific value, which Sommerfeld called α: the fine structure constant. This constant, once you folded into Bohr's equations properly, was able to precisely account for the energy difference between the coarse and fine structure predictions.

1/137, The fine-structure constant: The big baffling number at the heart of a cosmic coincidence Https_12
A supercooled deuterium source, as shown here, doesn't simply show discrete levels, but fringes that go atop of the standard constructive/destructive interference pattern. This additional fringe effect is a consequence of the fine structure of matter.

In terms of the other constants known at the time, α = e2/4πε0ħc, where:

e is the electron's charge,
ε0 is the electromagnetic constant for the permittivity of free space,
ħ is Planck's constant,
and c is the speed of light.

Unlike these other constants, which have units associated with them, α is a truly dimensionless constant, which means it is simply a pure number, with no units associated with it at all. While the speed of light might be different if you measure it in meters per second, feet per year, miles per hour, or any other unit, α always has the same value. For this reason, it's considered to be one of the fundamental constants that describes our Universe.

1/137, The fine-structure constant: The big baffling number at the heart of a cosmic coincidence Https_27
The energy levels and electron wavefunctions that correspond to different states within a hydrogen atom, although the configurations are extremely similar for all atoms. The energy levels are quantized in multiples of Planck's constant, but the sizes of the orbitals and atoms are determined by the ground-state energy and the electron's mass. Additional effects may be subtle, but shift the energy levels in measurable, quantifiable fashions.

An atom's energy levels cannot be accounted for properly without including these fine structure effects, a fact which resurfaced a decade after Bohr when the Schrödinger equation came onto the scene. Just as the Bohr model failed to reproduce the hydrogen atom's energy levels properly, so did the Schrödinger equation. It was quickly discovered that there were three reasons for this.

1. The Schrödinger equation is fundamentally non-relativistic, but electrons and other quantum particles can move close to the speed of light, and that effect must be included.
2. Electrons don't simply orbit atoms, but they also have an intrinsic angular momentum inherent to them: spin, with a value of ħ/2, that can either be aligned or anti-aligned with the rest of the atom's angular momentum.
3. Electrons also exhibit an inherent set of quantum fluctuations to their motion, known as zitterbewegung; this also contributes to the fine structure of atoms.

When you include all of these effects, you can successfully reproduce both the gross and fine structure of matter.

1/137, The fine-structure constant: The big baffling number at the heart of a cosmic coincidence Https_13
In the absence of a magnetic field, the energy levels of various states within an atomic orbital are identical (L). If a magnetic field is applied, however (R), the states split according to the Zeeman effect. Here we see the Zeeman splitting of a P-S doublet transition. Other types of splitting occur owing to spin-orbit interactions, relativistic effects, and interactions with the nuclear spin, leading to the fine and hyperfine structure of matter.

The reason these corrections are so small is because the value of the fine structure constant, α, is also very small. According to our best modern measurements, the value of α = 0.007297352569, where only the last digit is uncertain. This is very close to being an exact number: α = 1/137. It was once considered possible that this exact figure could be accounted for somehow, but better theoretical and experimental research has demonstrated that the relation is inexact, and that α = 1/137.0359991, where again only the last digit is uncertain.

1/137, The fine-structure constant: The big baffling number at the heart of a cosmic coincidence Https_28
The 21-centimeter hydrogen line comes about when a hydrogen atom containing a proton/electron combination with aligned spins (top) flips to have anti-aligned spins (bottom), emitting one particular photon of a very characteristic wavelength. The opposite-spin configuration in the n=1 energy level represents the ground state of hydrogen, but its zero-point-energy is a finite, non-zero value. This transition is part of the hyperfine structure of matter, going even beyond the fine structure we more commonly experience.

Even including all of these effects, though, doesn't get you everything about atoms. Not only is there the coarse structure (from electrons orbiting a nucleus) and fine structure (from relativistic effects, the electron's spin, and the electron's quantum fluctuations), but there's hyperfine structure: the interaction of the electron with the nuclear spin. The spin-flip transition of the hydrogen atom, for example, is the narrowest spectral line known in physics, and it's due to this hyperfine effect that goes beyond even fine structure.

1/137, The fine-structure constant: The big baffling number at the heart of a cosmic coincidence Https_29
The light from ultra-distant quasars provide cosmic laboratories for measuring not only the gas clouds they encounter along the way, but for the intergalactic medium that contains warm-and-hot plasmas outside of clusters, galaxies, and filaments. Because the exact properties of the emission or absorption lines are dependent on the fine structure constant, this is one of the top methods for probing the Universe for time or spatial variations in the fine structure constant.

But the fine structure constant, α, is of tremendous interest to physics. Some have investigated whether it might not be perfectly constant. Various measurements have indicated, at various points in our scientific history, that α might either vary with time or from location to location in the Universe. Measurements of the spectral lines of hydrogen and deuterium, in some cases, have indicated that perhaps α changes by ~0.0001% through space or time.
These initial results, however, have failed to hold up to independent verification, and are treated as dubious by the greater physics community. If we did ever robustly observe such variation, it would teach us that something that we observe to be unchanging in the Universe — like the electron charge, Planck's constant, or the speed of light — might actually not be a constant through space or time. A different type of variation, though, has actually been reproduced: α changes as a function of the energy conditions under which you perform your experiments. Let's think about why this must be so by imagining a different way of looking at the fine structure of the Universe: take two electrons and hold them a specific distance apart from one another. The fine structure constant, α, can be thought of as the ratio between the energy needed to overcome the electrostatic repulsion driving these electrons apart and the energy of a single photon whose wavelength is 2π multiplied by the separation between those electrons. In a quantum Universe, though, there are always particle-antiparticle pairs (or quantum fluctuations) that populate even completely empty space. At higher energies, this changes the strength of the electrostatic repulsion between two electrons.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbes-personal-shopper/2021/08/12/artifact-uprising-early-years-child-memory-book/?sh=3576094116ca

1. http://vixra.org/pdf/1811.0478v1.pdf
2. https://cosmosmagazine.com/mathematics/the-big-baffling-number-at-the-heart-of-a-cosmic-coincidence
3. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/deepak-chopra/why-the-universe-is-our-h_1_b_2950189.html



Last edited by Otangelo on Fri Jul 08, 2022 9:52 am; edited 20 times in total

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Jesus said: I am the truth, the way, and life.
Jesus is described in Revelation as the alpha and omega.

Alpha is one of the fundamental constants in physics. If it had not the precise value that it has, there would be no life in the universe.

One of these fundamental constants is the fine-structure constant, or alpha, which is the coupling constant for the electromagnetic force and equal to about 1/137.0359. If alpha were just 4% bigger or smaller than it is, stars wouldn't be able to make carbon and oxygen, which would have made it impossible for life as we know it to exist.

The reason 137 has obsessed so many thinkers to try and find the math behind it is clear. Einstein wrote, “In a reasonable theory there are no numbers whose values are only empirically determinable.”

“It is impossible for human minds to construct something as infinitely rich as mathematics, that so successfully describes our universe down to the finest detail. Given that it is impossible for anything else to describe our world so accurately, it is also impossible to conclude that the universe is not mathematical.

It’s often said that the whole of biology is explained by chemistry, the whole of chemistry by physics and the whole of physics by mathematics, the queen of the sciences. If all physics is contained within mathematics, it has the most radical consequences.

If, however, there’s only one physics, defined entirely by ontological mathematics (which is a single, interlocked edifice) then the fact that there is life in our universe is no accident at all.

But it points straightforward to the one, which has the name:

Alpha & Omega.

Revelation 22:13
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

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What instantiates and secures the forces that operate in the universe?

https://reasonandscience.catsboard.com/t3156-what-instantiates-and-secures-the-forces-that-operate-in-the-universe

I have recently seen several atheologists attempting to crush the first cause argument. One suggested a cosmos above our universe. When I asked if it was physical, he said, I don't know. I pointed out, that ANY universe proposal that existed prior to ours, being a multiverse, bubble universes, or cyclic universes, has to be physical, in time, changing, and must have had a starting point. This means the cause is just pushed further back, without solving the issue of the cause.

Someone else claimed there was just time. I asked if there was something else. He said no, just time. When I asked how there can be time without change, and without the ability to measure it, rather than answering my question, he asked, why there would be no time without being able to measure it. I replied: Time requires change, and in order to have change, you need something physical, matter, energy, space. It went back and forth, but in the end, my interlocutor was unable to substantiate his claim.
The third claimed that at the beginning was just math. We know that the universe is a mathematical structure. Tegmark propagated that claim that at the bottom of reality, is just math. The problem with this proposal is, that mathematical formulas, and abstract numbers are not in a causal relationship. We only know of minds, which can instantiate change, and implement order based on math, without any physical preconditions, can cause new things to happen.

Not only has there to be an agency to instantiate and cause the universe into existence, but the forces must also be secured, in order there not to be chaos. We know that the fundamental forces do not change across all the universe. That permits the coupling constants to be just right, which hold atoms together.
I did not understand in physics, what a coupling constant is until very recently.

In physics, a coupling constant or gauge coupling parameter (or, more simply, a coupling), is a number that determines the strength of the force exerted in an interaction. Originally, the coupling constant related the force acting between two static bodies to the "charges" of the bodies (i.e. the electric charge for electrostatic and the mass for Newton's gravity) divided by the distance squared, {\displaystyle r^{2}}r^{2}, between the bodies.
In nuclear physics and particle physics, the strong interaction is one of the four known fundamental interactions, with the others being electromagnetism, weak interaction, and gravitation. At the range of 10−15 m (1 femtometer ), the strong force is approximately 137 times as strong as electromagnetism, 10^6 times as strong as the weak interaction , and 10^38 times as strong as gravitation.

I wrote and heard about the fine-structure constant before. It is expressed in the number 1/137. But I did not really comprehend what it was standing for. With the above observation, and explanation, that is clear now.
In physics, the fine-structure constant α (the Greek letter alpha), is a fundamental physical constant that quantifies the strength of the electromagnetic interaction between elementary charged particles.

Elementary particles are protons and neutrons, and they are held together by the strong nuclear force. So the relationship and force between the strong nuclear force, and electromagnetic force, must be just right, finely tuned, and adjusted to permit life.

PAUL RATNER: Why the number 137 is one of the greatest mysteries in physics   31 October, 2018
Famous physicists like Richard Feynman think 137 holds the answers to the Universe.
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: 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.

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.
The number preoccupied other great physicists as well, including the Nobel Prize winning Wolfgang Pauli (1900-1958) who was obsessed with it his whole life.
"When I die my first question to the Devil will be: What is the meaning of the fine structure constant?" Pauli joked.

Pauli also referred to the fine structure constant during his Nobel lecture on December 13th, 1946 in Stockholm, saying a theory was necessary that would determine the constant's value and "thus explain the atomistic structure of electricity, which is such an essential quality of all atomic sources of electric fields actually occurring in nature."
One use of this curious number is to measure the interaction of charged particles like electrons with electromagnetic fields. Alpha determines how fast an excited atom can emit a photon. It also affects the details of the light emitted by atoms. Scientists have been able to observe a pattern of shifts of light coming from atoms called "fine structure" (giving the constant its name). This "fine structure" has been seen in sunlight and the light coming from other stars.

The constant figures in other situations, making physicists wonder why. Why does nature insist on this number? It has appeared in various calculations in physics since the 1880s, spurring numerous attempts to come up with a Grand Unified Theory that would incorporate the constant since. So far no single explanation took hold. Recent research also introduced the possibility that the constant has actually increased over the last six billion years, even though slightly.

The fact that this constant has changed, even just a bit, is very important. It demonstrates that there is no physical necessity that dictates that these forces MUST stay in that precise relationship. It also means, that there is no natural explanation for its stability and value.

This brings us back to the initial point. What is it, that instantiates and secures these forces, and their relationship, making it possible for our universe to be filled with atoms, chemistry, molecules, and life?

Science has no answer. Here, philosophy comes into play. The options are pure luck ( chance), physical necessity ( which we can discard ), and design. So, Chance, and design.
What makes more sense ?

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