Monday, January 22, 2007

The mysterious number 137

In physics, the number 137 is considered somewhat of a mystery. I can't pretend to understand exactly what it means to physicists but it's been described by physicist R. P. Feynman as "one of the greatest damn mysteries of physics: a magic number that comes to us with no understanding by man. You might say the 'hand of God' wrote that number, and we don't know how He pushed his pencil."

So I won't begin to describe how this number mystifies scientists, mostly because I wouldn't have a clue what I was saying, and I wouldn't want to scare any readers into some college physics phlashback for fear they might be tested on it or something.

I can relate, however, that early 20th Century theoretical physicist Wolfgang Pauli, when he became ill with cancer in 1958, was admitted to the hospital and assigned room 137. The significance of that wasn't lost on Pauli.

Pauli had spent much of his career preoccupied with the significance of 137. When assigned the hospital room with that number, Pauli feared the worst. His fears were realized. Pauli died in room 137.

So what prompted me to write on this today? Well, coincidentally, 137 is the body count in Iraq today. And nobody here in America knows the significance of that number either. But it's nice, as a common American lay person, to share in the mystery of a number that even the best scientific minds know is special, but don't know why.

(Dada footnote: At the time of writing this, astrophysists estimate of the age of the known universe, according to the best available data as returned by the Hubble space telescope is (ready?) -- 13.7 billion years. That means, unless refined, we are once more confronted with that "137" number and that all of us were born at the time the Universe was 13.7 billion years old and will die when the Universe is still 13.7 billion years old! Is it possible someone's trying to tell us something?)


D.K. Raed said...

Physics Phlashback! Let's hope Bush gets tweaked with a big one during his speech as he realizes what 137 deaths might portend. Perhaps it is that special number after which even hard-core bush supporters will find themselves unable to swallow his BS any longer. Thus 137 might represent the point at which their gullets have finally been filled with enough death & realized it's time to stop feeding the beast. The mystery would be why it took them so long.

Beyond physics (which are beyond me), I remember some TV special relating #137 to the Cabala, which itself is full of mystical numerology. I just looked it up to be sure. According to Cabala (and therefore Madonna), the numbers 26 and 137 are the fundamental #'s of the universe. 26=Yahweh=God. 137=I am all Truth. So on second thought, I take back my wish for a bush-phlashback. he's already got enough of a god complex & certainly thinks he's got a monopoly on truth.

Gads, there's so much coincidence surround 137, like it might in some way be related to the Great Pyramid of Giza and also Stonehenge, though in what way it's hard for me to fathom. ~~ D.K.

azgoddess said...

ok -- you teased me and i had to look it up

it's a pretend number - kind-of like our pretend president...and his immaginary war on terror...sigh

JoshDavid77 said...

More on the signifance of the number 137. Did you know that the phrase GOD IS LOVE is mentioned only twice in the whole BIBLE (both old and new)? It can be found in 1 John 4:8 and 1 John 4:16.

So how is 137 connected to this? Well we can see from the above verses that the numbers 8 and 16 are distinction between them. If 8 and 16 are taken as a month, then we have August 16. Intriguingly, on August 16 there are 137 days left in the year!!! Is 137 really then a number "written by God" (as Feyman said)?

For more coincidences. Check out my post!!