10.4169/amer.math.monthly.123.6.609
Amir, Ariel
Ariel
Amir
Lemeshko, Mikhail
Mikhail
Lemeshko
Tokieda, Tadashi
Tadashi
Tokieda
Surprises in numerical expressions of physical constants
Mathematical Association of America
2016
2018-12-11T11:50:42Z
2019-01-24T13:01:14Z
journal_article
https://research-explorer.app.ist.ac.at/record/1204
https://research-explorer.app.ist.ac.at/record/1204.json
In science, as in life, "surprises" can be adequately appreciated only in the presence of a null model, what we expect a priori. In physics, theories sometimes express the values of dimensionless physical constants as combinations of mathematical constants like π or e. The inverse problem also arises, whereby the measured value of a physical constant admits a "surprisingly" simple approximation in terms of well-known mathematical constants. Can we estimate the probability for this to be a mere coincidence, rather than an inkling of some theory? We answer the question in the most naive form.