A Physicist Contradicts God - Poem by Paul Hartal
The fine structure constant, also known as alpha,
is a fundamental physical constant that concerns
the strength of the electromagnetic interaction
between elementary charged particles.
Physicists estimate its value at 137.
Some say that it is the most important number
in physics and at the same time the greatest
mystery that holds all the secrets
of the universe.
Among eminent physicists, Nobel laureates
Richard Feynman and Wolfgang Pauli were both
fascinated by alpha. Feynman said that 137
was "a number written by the hand of God".
According to a story, in 1958 when Pauli died
God granted him an audience with the stipulation
that he can ask only one question.
Pauli sighed: " Tell me, please, why does alpha
equal to 1/137? "
God started to explain alpha by writing
equations on the blackboard. Pauli followed
God's mathematics with immense interest.
However, at some point the physicist started
to shake his head in utter disagreement
and said: "This is completely false."
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