The so-called “fine-structure constant” is a deeply important number in physics. It describes the strength of the electromagnetic force between fundamental particles. This means, among countless other things, that it gauges the interaction between all the atoms and molecules in our bodies. Of the fine-structure constant, physicist Max Born said, “The explanation of this number must be the central problem of natural philosophy.” Modern measurements of the fine-structure constant reach a precision of 0.2 parts per billion. This allows us to test the celebrated Standard Model of Particle Physics at unprecedented levels. It also allows us to look for new particles and forces arising from the “dark sector”, the enormous world of undiscovered particles that makes up dark matter and dark energy. Our speaker is Dr. Holger Müller, Associate Professor of Physics, UC Berkeley.
Produced by Wonderfest.
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