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The Grand Designer: Does it Really Matter that the Neutron is only 0.1% Heavier than the Proton?

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For myself and others, math and numbers can seem very difficult or boring.  But math and numbers becomes very interesting to me when I can "see" these numbers showing exact precision in the architecture and design of the universe, thus revealing the grandeur and wisdom of our Grand Designer! So here are some very intriguing points taken from an article I just came across that helps me to appreciate what Galileo famously wrote saying that the book of nature is “written in mathematical language”



Why is a neutron slightly heavier than a proton?




The proton is about 1,836 times as heavy as the electron; nobody knows why nature picked that particular number. The neutron is very slightly heavier than the proton, by about 0.1%, or 1.00137841887 according to the best measurements. Why is this? Did the Great Cosmic Designer initially intend the proton and neutron to have same mass but then threw in a bit more for the neutron as an afterthought?


The neutron-proton mass difference may seem trivial but it has momentous consequences, because mass is a form of energy (remember E = mc2). The neutron, as it happens, has a little more mass (and thus energy) than a proton and an electron combined. There is a general principle in nature that physical systems, when left alone, seek out their lowest energy state. Sure enough, an isolated neutron will soon, within about 15 minutes on average, spontaneously turn into an electron and a proton, a process known as beta decay. (Another particle, called an anti-neutrino, is also involved, but that need not concern us here because it is almost massless.) The only reason that any neutrons still exist is because, within a few minutes after the hot big bang that made the universe, some neutrons stuck themselves to protons. The strong neutron-proton binding force changes the energy balance – not by much, but enough to stabilize the neutrons.


Had the Great Designer done it the other way round, with protons about 0.1% heavier than neutrons, disaster would ensue. Under these circumstances, isolated protons would turn into neutrons rather than the other way around. Some protons would be saved by attaching to neutrons. But hydrogen, the simplest chemical element, does not contain a stabilizing neutron; hydrogen atoms consist of just a proton and an electron. In this backward universe, hydrogen could not exist. Nor could there be any stable long-lived stars, which use hydrogen as nuclear fuel. Heavier elements such as carbon and oxygen, made in large stars, might never form either. Without stable protons there could be no water and probably no biology. The universe would be very different.


The fact that the universe we know, including our own existence within it, hinges so delicately on the precise value of the neutron-to-proton mass ratio has led to heated debate among scientists. Was it just a lucky fluke that the laws of physics turned out this way? Or does it suggest something more profound?


So for now, 1.00137841887 is just “one of those numbers” that nature has settled on for no reason humans can fathom. If the value were off just a tad, there would be no humans – Galileo or otherwise – to even attempt the fathoming.

This article appeared in Cosmos 74 - Autumn 2017 under the headline "The power of 1.00137841887"

Edited by Beggar for the Spirit

"Create in me a pure heart, O God, And put within me a new spirit, a steadfast one" (PS 51:10)


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Fascinating information! Faith strengthening.

I wish I could simply it, compact it and include this in my public talk. (I'll try)


G. H. Hardy (1877 - 1947), A Mathematician's Apology, Cambridge University Press, 1994.

The mathematician's patterns, like the painter's or the poet's must be beautiful; the ideas, like the colors or the words must fit together in a harmonious way. Beauty is the first test: there is no permanent place in this world for ugly mathematics.

Man was created as an intelligent creature with the desire to explore and understand :)


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I listened to an audio book. In it was the experience of two Russian (blood) brothers. They were working on Pi. They actually built a computer to crank out those numbers. What I enjoyed was the love they had for math. There was a beauty they felt that actually made math exciting. 

I know, not in this system, but when my brain gets better, I want to know math better. I believe there is a beauty there, because of its Creator! 

I want to age without sharp corners, and have an obedient heart!

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Just checked and I can still recall pi to 35 decimal places. Shame I keep forgetting the names of the apostles and other important stuff!


Periodic Videos is a great YouTube channel, btw.



The conclusion of the matter, everything having been heard, is: Fear the true God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole obligation of man. Ec 12:13

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50 minutes ago, ChrisTheConfused said:

Just checked and I can still recall pi to 35 decimal places. Shame I keep forgetting the names of the apostles and other important stuff!


Periodic Videos is a great YouTube channel, btw.




I only can recall pi to 17 digits from memory. :uhhuh:The same as from my high school days >35 years ago. 

I have a 12MB file on my Mac that has 10 million digits of pi. Didn't remember how many digits were in there, so had to write a BASH command to count them. Although it's totally useless, I can't make myself toss it in the trash. There's something magical about it. :wub:


I'm no mathematician, but I do love math. I use pi a bit when coding microcontrollers, like calculating the positions of GPS satellites for drawing their 3D location on a screen (called a sky plot).


Jehovah's universe is such a fascinating marvel and I long to join my brothers in learning more and more about it.



“It’s not how much we know that pleases Jehovah, but how we feel about what we know and how we have allowed that knowledge to increase our love for Jehovah.”

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