Physics While Taxiing
While taxiing from the East Ramp to Rwy19R
at Concord (CCR), I had the following
communication with a remarkably astute
Ground: 7KT, I want to ask you about your.
7KT: My number,if unclear, is 137KT.
Ground: No problem with the number.
What I want to know is...is there any significance
to your number 137KT ?
7KT: There certainly is. 137 is actually one of the most
fundamental constants in physics. It is known as the
"fine-structure-constant"*. It appears in many equations
in atomic and nuclear physics. In fact, it is so well known
that if anyone needs any type of assistance in the world,
merely by displaying the number 137 a physicst will
come to his aid. Do you think your can remember
all that ?
Ground: I will never forget in all my professional career!
Several days later, this exchange took place:
Ground: (after call-up) 137KT, taxi 32R.
7KT: Taxi 32R.
Ground: I am the operator who asked you about your number
a couple of days ago.
7KT: Hello, I was wondering...what background do you
have in physics?
Ground: Oh, I have a general interest in physics, but no real
training in it.
7KT: Then why did you ask about the significance of 137KT?
Ground: It just appeared to me that it might not be a random number.
7KT: How right you are !!
* The "fine-structure-constant" is actually 1/137, but that is a
trivial detail here.