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Why Is 1/137 One of the Greatest Unsolved Problems In Physics?

  • Published on Sep 27, 2022 veröffentlicht
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    The Fine Structure Constant is one the strangest numbers in all of physics. It’s the job of physicists to worry about numbers, but there’s one number that physicists have stressed about more than any other. That number is 0.00729735256 - approximately 1/137. This is the fine structure constant, and it appears everywhere in our equations of quantum physics, and we’re still trying to figure out why.
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Comments • 7 136

  • Enes Miraç Kaya

    Some alien civilization wanted to make a fully simulated space game. One programmer set a constant as 1/137 during development, then left the dev team. After a while some other programmer went over the code and couldn't figure out what the constant was for. He commented the code saying "I don't know what it does or why it has that value. When deleted the whole universe breaks down so don't touch it."

  • Emergent Form
    Emergent Form 4 hours ago +2

    Whoa trippy. Love this channel and how it keeps telling me wild things I've never heard before, despite being relatively well versed in physics for a layperson.

  • Ender Wiggins
    Ender Wiggins 7 hours ago +3

    You don’t mention that using QFT you can show that the anomalous magnetic moment g-2 is alpha / pi to first order (which blows my mind)

  • felixu95
    felixu95  +438

    Excellent video, but I think the number most universally stressed out over by physicists is the rent.

  • sean h
    sean h 4 hours ago +18

    i can attest: it's amazing how i always understand almost exactly 1/137th of every PBS spacetime video i watch

  • Eric Swells
    Eric Swells 4 hours ago

    Is this a perfect example of seeing things you want to see?

  • Michael Niles

    Little known fact: our universe was a typo, the 4D experimentalists had originally meant to type "1337" for the seed phrase

  • Mitchell Sayers
    Mitchell Sayers 4 hours ago +1

    I thought I found a video that had the answers to life. Instead I found a video about quantum physics that’s way over my head.

  • Mr. Unacceptable Shadowbanned By Google

    If 1/137 is a marker of our universe what would a 1/138 or a 136 look like? is there any way to tell? Is the number a way of classifying universes? As in only 1/137 has carbon based life? 1/158 has silicon life? Is there a way of telling if other ratio universe could sustain life or not just from the ratio. Like when a wave form joins another and doubles. Or other trait.

  • Onlythetruth Willsetyoufree

    I like the number 137.035999 better. Much more esthetically pleasing!

  • KirksNeckChop

    Putting the fine structure constant in a communication seems like a good way to make aliens think the message is just a natural fluke.. after all, it turns up everywhere and in strange places.

  • ckl
    ckl 16 hours ago

    And I thought 42 was the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything.

  • Lewis
    Lewis  +800

    These videos manage to blow my mind even though I only understand about 1/137 of the physics.

  • kee
    kee 9 hours ago

    What if there is intelligent life on the electron level or other places where 137 comes up trying to communicate to alien life somewhere else that they are intelligent by 'sending out' 137. Question is: Who started using 137 and why?

  • Just Saying
    Just Saying 9 hours ago +17

    Watching this video made me feel like I learned something without actually having to have learned anything. Well done.

  • Genari Perez
    Genari Perez 4 hours ago

    I got a question.

  • Mr. Oblivious
    Mr. Oblivious 4 hours ago

    So 137 only works in base 10?

  • Brian Batie
    Brian Batie 7 hours ago +1

    Question, has it been determined with certainty that the coupling constant has indeed "bottomed out", and is not still dropping, but in increments so small that we lack the ability to measure them?

  • Great American Eclipse

    Outstanding and stimulating video! When I studied physics at UC Berkeley, my quantum mechanics classes were Physics 137A and 137B, not a coincidence

  • Atoms of stardust
    Atoms of stardust Day ago +20

    Why am I hearing about this number for the very first time in my life after years of watching various popular science videos like that? Odd it’s not talked about more.