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Dec15-09, 07:04 AM
P: 622
Quote Quote by marcus View Post
In electromagnetism the operative running constant is alpha (approx. = 1/137) that relates charge to attraction and distance. Charge does not have to run, because alpha runs.
Thanks for this correction.

What I think is an intriguing question is what is meant by "fundamental".

It's not as simple an issue as some people may imagine. ......
So I can't answer your question about are there any really fundamental, not merely effective, physical theories. But glad you asked. Maybe someone else will put it into perspective for both of us.
I hope so. But I suspect that it depends on "times that are a-changing", as Bob Dylan once sang, so that any answer may not be final. Perhaps Newton's gravity was once viewed as quite fundamental. It still is in atyy's sense:
A fundamental theory is one that does not predict its own breakdown
Maybe a lifetime ago General Relativity was formulated as a fundamental theory of gravity. There seem to be doubts nowadays.