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Is there a practical process in nature in which the relationship between the 1 and the 137 is patently manifest and describes the equation in a manner which is more accessible for a layman?

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- Thread starter juniorcarty
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In summary, the Fine Structure Constant ##\alpha## characterizes the strength of the electromagnetic interaction between charged particles. Its value is not precisely 1/137 (see my link). It just happens to be quite close to that value. So far, we have no deeper explanation for its value -- we merely measure its value from the results of various high precision experiments. It is one of the more intriguing constants of nature, since it is dimensionless -- meaning that its value doesn't depend on which system of units we choose. As for "applications",... it affects all electromagnetic phenomena, both classical and quantum.f

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Is there a practical process in nature in which the relationship between the 1 and the 137 is patently manifest and describes the equation in a manner which is more accessible for a layman?

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hbar*c has something to do with the size at which quantum effects become important. So, you could interpret the fine structure constant as how important quantum effects are for the electric force.

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The Fine Structure Constant ##\alpha## characterizes the strength of the electromagnetic interaction between charged particles. Its value is

Is there a practical process in nature in which the relationship between the 1 and the 137 is patently manifest and describes the equation in a manner which is more accessible for a layman?

##\alpha## is one of the more intriguing constants of nature, since it is dimensionless -- meaning that its value doesn't depend on which system of units we choose.

As for "applications",... it affects

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Is there a practical process in nature in which the relationship between the 1 and the 137 is patently manifest and describes the equation in a manner which is more accessible for a layman?

It comes up in a number of places. The most intuitive, it seems to me, occurs in the ground state of a hydrogen atom. The speed of the electron is simply α times c, speed of light.

Of course "speed" is not observable but is calculated from the electron's momentum in the s-orbital.

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Why it has this value is unknown.

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It is approximately one 137th of 1. Which means, it is a pure number written approximately as a fraction.it is 1 137th of what?

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It is the square of the electric charge expressed in natural units divided by 4 pi.

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Hi juniorcarty, Sixty Symbols covered α in this clip:Is there a practical process in nature in which the relationship between the 1 and the 137 is patently manifest and describes the equation in a manner which is more accessible for a layman?

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