Is Our Entire Universe Held Together By One Mysterious Number?

There’s a number that holds some of the
deepest secrets in the universe. It’s responsible for how chemical reactions happen, how stars
burn, and is so key to our existence that if it were off by just a few percentage points — you, me, all of this, might not even be here. And somehow, it comes out to 1/137.
It’s a number that’s baffled scientists for nearly a century, and according to physicist Richard Feynman, is “one of the biggest damn mysteries in physics.” 1/137, otherwise known as the fine structure constant, or alpha, is a fundamental constant of nature. These numbers are the laws of the cosmos, governing everything from the force of gravity to the
behavior of quantum particles. And to understand how we get alpha, we need an expert who’s been studying it for decades. My name Is John Webb, I’m a professor of astrophysics at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, and we’re gonna be talking about varying constants of nature. The fine-structure constant is formed from a ratio involving the electron charge, the speed of light, and Planck’s constant. That is the quantity that physicists use to describe how strong the electromagnetic force  is. The
electromagnetic force is one of the known four forces of nature. Very important, the
force involved in keeping the structure of atoms the way that they are. Because alpha dictates the strength of the electromagnetic force, it’s not tied to the units we typically
use to measure things like weight or distance. It comes straight from nature itself, and
that’s why alpha is dimensionless. A dimensionless constant has no units associated with it,
no meters, no seconds, nothing like that. It’s a pure number. Alpha is a mystery, because its value, 1/137 comes to us with no explanation as why it has that value. It’s a numerical coincidence, with huge implications for us. If you change alpha, you change the way that
atoms are held together. If it had been a few percent different in the early universe,
hydrogen, for example, might not have been the most abundant element, but helium might
have been. Stars would have evolved very differently, the evolution of the chemical elements would
have been very different to what it was, and indeed human beings, rocky planets, might
not even exist. For a small change in alpha. And this notion of whether the constants of nature are as constant as we think, has kept many physicists up late at night. The
first mention of it in the scientific literature was in 1874 by Lord Kelvin, and a friend of his Peter Tait. There were speculations by Eddington and Hermann Weyl. Paul Dirac wrote a paper speculating and physicist Wolfgang Pauli famously quipped, “When I die, my first
question to the Devil will be: What is the meaning of the fine structure constant?” Ironically, he passed away in Room 137 in a hospital in Zurich. And to this day, no one’s figured it out. I first started getting interested in alpha in the 1990s actually. At that time the Keck telescope was collecting some amazingly good data. By using observations from Keck
and the VLT telescope in Chile, Webb and his team published papers that found variations in
alpha, depending on where you are in the universe, and that’s been the subject of a spirited
debate. We’ve been working on this for quite a while, searching to check whether there’s any time or space variability of the fine-structure constant, and so we do that by looking at
quasars all over the sky. They’re very bright and they’re quite small, actually. They emit a huge amount of light from a very small volume of space. It is thought that they are essentially the centers of galaxies, black holes powered by accretion from material nearby. Whilst they’re fascinating objects as far as we’re concerned, really, they’re just beacons of light shining along a huge path length through the universe. Whilst that light is on the
way, between the quasar and us, inevitably it gets absorbed by things that intersect
the sight line. When light passes through the halo of an early galaxy, it’s as if it takes a snapshot of physics at that time. Gaseous halos of early galaxies cause absorption dips in the spectrum of the quasar. We see all sorts of elements in these absorption dips: iron, magnesium, nickel, chromium, zinc, aluminum. They use instruments called spectrographs to analyze the light coming from the quasars to our telescopes. You can split the light up from the quasar into its spectrum, and look at
all of the different wavelengths that fall onto your detector. We know what the elements are. We know how much gas is present. You can measure it very accurately and we can measure the physical conditions in the gas clouds that are giving rise to this absorption.
So you can think of it like a barcode on a supermarket product, you see the black lines,
and if you change alpha, they all change their positions. If the fine structure constant
were different at that time, then the amount of energy required to get an electron to change
its orbit from one level to another, would be slightly different. We have a tentative
signal that there is some kind of something strange going on, a spatial variation. Because
when we look in one direction in the universe, we see alpha a little bit smaller. And if you’re looking in the opposite direction, it tends to be a little bit bigger. Of course, that’s been met with several criticisms, quite correctly. That’s exactly how a science should proceed. This is not a confirmed result. It was statistically
kind of fairly significant, but the trouble is the data are very complicated. The instruments are very complicated. The calibration is very complicated. As Carl Sagan once said, extraordinary
claims require extraordinary evidence —especially when you’re challenging the law of the cosmos. So the European Southern Observatory is going to put a brand new instrument called ESPRESSO to the test. It’s a souped up spectrograph handled by lead project scientist, Paolo Molaro, to hopefully nail this mystery. Espresso is a spectrograph that is under vacuum and determines stabilities at the level of one milliKelvin. The first thing that we had to make is a cadre tray of optical elements to bring the light from the telescopes to the lab. And this tray is composed of prisms, lenses, mirrors, which exactly break the light from the telescope to the lab. When the light of the source is injected in fibers and the fibers feed the spectrograph,
which is contained in a vessel under vacuum and there are different enclosures that make it terminally stable. This is the different ball game now. We will get very, very accurate data. We had the first run and we are now in the middle of that processing. We have to verify everything. So the first
results will be about in one year. And if ESPRESSO finds that the fine structure constant varies, it would be a very big deal. It’d open the door to theories that predict multiple dimensions in space time and potentially, a grand unified theory of physics. But whether this number signifies some larger metaphysical truth remains to be seen. There are kind of
two schools of thought. One is that actually, yes, we will one day when our knowledge advances,
be able to explain why the fundamental constants, including the dimensionless ones, have the
values that they do. That’s my belief too. I think we will, one day. But there are other
alternative ways of looking at this. It is interesting that the constants that we do
have seem to be finely tuned for our existence. It leads to this idea of the anthropic principle,
and the anthropic principle says basically this, we shouldn’t be surprised to see that
the constants of nature are finely tuned for our existence, because if they were not we
would not be here, sitting around talking about it. And maybe that’s from this point of view, all you need. In fact, they’re finely tuned by the
hand of God, that’s one point of view that many people probably do hold. There’s another
point of view, and that is, well, actually there’s an infinite number of universes, and
each one of those universes has a different set of physical laws and we just happen to
be in one that we’re able to, um, talk about. I think Stephen Hawking liked that idea. So there’s multiple ideas, there’s a lot of thoughts, and we’re probably still at the early days of our understanding.

  • I believe both of those schools of thought are true, as a Christian. The Bible says, all things come through him and by him and that he HOLDS everything together

  • If Quantum Mechanics is the successful theory, sufficiently effective in confirmation of the Fine Constant, and the probability wave-package integration suggested by String Theory is the perception of Physics and related Numerical Mathematical Abstractions to the specific resonance interference positioning that describes the FC circumstances, then this particular number has the characteristic features of e-Pi-i prime and cofactors, modulation of time duration timing that this number fits the situation as a "lowest common denominator" in numberness.

    Two criteria required, Eternity-now Interval synchronicity of omnidirectional-dimensional substantiation, and evolving sequences in the QM-TIMESPACE Principle In-form-ation formulae of this "Anthropic" POV aspect of Infinite recirculating continuous creation connection in Principle perspective of the Singularity positioning here-now forever Hologram. WYSIWYG, and all the relevant information about this Fine Constant has been done, but in a somewhat piecemeal fashion, as far as the reports go.. (ie it's "fashionable" to popularize weird and mysterious and possible intervention-ist reasoning, bs)

  • Seems nobody is following Einstein's statement that gravity is not a force, cuz everyone seems to now b saying it's a force. So it seems Einstein wasn't such a genius. Imo, gravity IS the electromagnetic force.

    Alpha is composed of known values, so it's not a mystery apparently. Seems like this EM force, 1/137, is a particle, maybe an electron, since it is part of a EMF from a planet/sun. Seems it rides on an invisible spectrum of the EM frequency and has the speed of light in vacuum and an almost infinite range until obviously effected by another EM field.

  • yeah, the only issue is the speed of light and every other thing we call a "constant" was arbitrarily made into a constant so things would fit our description. As an example, the "speed of light" is not what we commonly know but we have to work with a non-changing number or we would never get any calculations done…

  • It is the power of distribution and transformation
    We see it thru the eye of knowledge and is our forbidden fruit the knowledge of good and evil thru the power of distribution and transformation
    It is the power and face of God and we are the reflected images of God
    Mankind's use of the power of distribution (The power of God) gives rise to the beast and the flames of hell because we are not selfless enough to balance the power of God
    It is how energy works in everything constant distribution and transformation
    We all balance good and evil thru the power of distribution and transformation on our shoulders with a eye of discernment

  • The numbers don't determine the cosmos it just a way that allows us measure it. If you didn't have the alpha equation the universe would still go on. So please stop saying that if it would be of be a few percentage, we wouldn't be here.

  • What if our understanding of physics about the way quantum particles to the universe work end up discovering that we are in a advanced simulation

  • So now we have another possibility for armageddon: disintegration of all life from the ever-so-slight variation in the fine structure constant.

  • I have a new constant: the speed of light divided by the speed of my little tortoise Josh. I called it the Josh Constant. If the value of J (this is the physical notation), which is dimensionless, changes, our universe would be different, even Alpha would change!
    Science videos also have click baits.

  • "Is Our Entire Universe Held Together By One Mysterious Number?"

    No. The number is not responsible for anything, alpha is simply a description of a property of the universe. Descriptions are not prescriptions. Why might be an interesting question, but regardless of what kind of universe you conceive, that property would still exist, and it's value would be specific to the given conceived universe.

    To rephrase, the properties of the universe are not fine tuned for our existence, rather we are adapted/fine tuned to the properties of this specific universe. It is not surprising that our existence necessarily falls within the allowable properties of the universe we exist in. It would be more 'miraculous' if the properties of the universe did not allow our existence, but we existed anyways.

    It's a bit like imagining a universe where everything that exists inside that universe is blue, and then being amazed at how the universe is finely tuned for blue-ness; when the reality is that its not at all surprising to find blue things in a universe where only blue things exist. It would be more impressive if something red existing in that universe.

  • Common sense piano piano Alpha, multidimensional, what i mean that he is multitasking, mixed

  • His mother was an intelectual but his father was the opposite, he encourage him to be in Outdoors, a Man of action, he did a lot of
    physical work he was in contact with African Nature, he worked also with his hands, that made him a complete multitasking, not at all multidimetional, just a complete human being,
    and that can be clearly seen in his joy of living countless adventures, which he so skillfully expresses in his books

  • Other case of multitasking complete human being, why ? because he did a lot of GYM in contact with the nature of the world, he used not only his intelect but his body, but at some age we have to accept that we must still stay alive, but playing the game in a much more fun, sustantiable, civilized way
    although we are actually more dinosaurs than ever

  • This is the great reason why Latin European countries, and the case is even more extreme in Latin America, and is really clown situation in Argentina, as the organized mafia, the systematic corruption, causes those above to be so afraid of those of below, at CASA DE HERRERO CUCHILLO DE PALO, Latinos have even more creativity than the Nordics, just see the Art of the Renaissance, but the organized GAY mafia is very envious of the natural talent of their own culture, and then systematically Mafia represses every act that is done to seduce to sell to create, read the name of the Rose the case of El Ciego, JORGE LUIS BORGES that by envy took control of the library and murdered anyone who was too creative, and there is still now to accept that reality is a GAY multi-dimension.

  • Here is a concrete test, this is anallized by a qualified journalist, the same happens in Italy, Spain, and in truly extreme cases in Latin America, and what this journalist is not saying is that they work to repress and submit together with the Washing of Money and drug trafficking, also happens in Spain and Italy, have everything bought, everything fixed, and actively repress any possibility of competition, in Argentina as they annihilate the competition, we have the level of inflation we have, this is what a journalist in a channel is saying of qualified television, read the book and know what happens with the systematic corruption in the Latin countries, everywhere there is corruption, but not so systematically, so don't start saying that it is all a multiple dimensions, MULTIPLE MAFIA YES

  • Multiple Mafia not multiple dimensions, this is systematic criminality

  • Ask the Italian that does not do criminality apaology, everything bought everything fixed

  • They don't want to compete, so they don't want European Argentines, they want Midnight Expresso

  • I have the same moral as this scientist, this is what I am because of that I get angry, I am a black white, these are my peers

  • You poisoned me 25 years ago and continue trying to poison me and my whole country, you are going to pay dearly.

  • The Europeans did not want to compete for that reason they poisoned me, you also do not want to compete, you'll will pay dearly for that. They prefer the Midnight Expresso

  • Europeans didn't want to compete that is why they poisoned me, yo don't want to compete in a fair play too, you are gona pay hard for it.

  • Numbers did not make this universe…holy fvcking shit! Numbers are byproducts! Not the foundational archetypes of creation. The UNiverse did not create anything, the universe was filled by the Zero Dimension, the container of all things.

  • Contact with real Nature to be as complete as David Attenborough, greeny and global warming solutions, in contact with true nature so as the girl IS THERE

  • There's no number at the core. Impossible. That number is a human invention. So it must be purely a regular tension between forces or a self organizing aspect we haven't yet named.

  • Lol you mean God …atheist go around shit and make it complicated its morw important things to study and research its impossible to search the universe

  • youtube magumba, never the less you seem to have a few million subscibers, well done for that, How you did it blows my mind unless your channel has been constantly telling people stuff they want to hear, doesnt matter if its correct does it? Well done Seeker, for I cant do what you do

  • I don't understand why Scientists have the evidence in front of them that the Universe is so finely tuned for our existence, that it points directly to some kind of Creative Force.
    Then they go and complicate the evidence and " invent " a multi universe idea!
    What is more plausible? That there is an Ultimate Guiding Force that Created the whole Universe and brought it into existence OR negate the whole idea/ bypass it and now say there are multiple universes?

  • "Something " created the whole universe and brought it into existence AND is sustaining it.
    Call It what you like, but I call it My Creator! My Maker, My Sustainer.
    To negate the notion of some kind of Creating Force is like taking out the only chef in a top restaurant and expecting food to come out of the kitchen!!

    Why is the food coming out of the kitchen if there is no God? No Creator?

  • 03:00 demon no.137 took him away…
    06:01 extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence – especially when you're challenging the laws of the cosmos! ~#CarlSagan

  • Hi, Seeker! I am also a lifelong seeker of truth and true facts in general. My wondering resulted in a book in which I challenge nearly everything in theoretical physics.

    I have the answer in it to what is the Dark Matter?… It is very clearly explained in my book that has been released few days ago and is available on Amazon. Title – My Quest to Understand EVERYTHING: Everything is the Mechanics of Reflection.

    In it I will answer not only this question, but also the famous one of Leibnitz – why there is something rather than nothing… Yes, the answer to how the Universe started is answerable. And it isn't Big Bang or creationism. As a matter of fact, I will prove how illogical and impossible both these claims are in this book.

    On the cover of that book there is THE TRUE PATTERN OF MAGNETIC FIELD. Yes, our textbooks are wrong on it too. And I have a proof for my claim. All that inside the book.

    Also, the book addresses such questions as – what is and how work black holes, what are and how work space and time etc. And no, the present theories are wrong. And in this book I explain this too.

    Also, I addresse questions about what is aether, why everything rotates in space (contemporary science has no answer to these questions).

    Other stories are about flat Earth theory and hollow Earth theory. One is insanely impossible, another is absolutely possible in theory as experimental evidence, that is included in the book, proves that.

    Questions about free will and formation of our personalities along with what is the Truth itself are also addressed there.

    So, happy reading…

  • The Universe is NOT fine tuned for us. We are just the result of what it had to work with in the first place…

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