Flash in the Pan

A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights

What ‘007’ Means To Me

by Robert Koslowsky

My wife ignores me about the importance of ‘007' and my daughter rolls her eyes, imploring me to give it up as she leaves the room. "Dad," she exasperatingly says, "no one really cares about the mathematics of the universe. Why don't you watch Star Wars or something?"

They are the last people in a 30-mile radius who were likely to be interested in my quest to raise the profile of one of the universe's most important metrics.

I turn to my wife one last time, "Dear, 007 is not about some government agent who likes his martini's shaken, not stirred. Rather, it is all about 0.007, a significant number that enabled human life to evolve in our universe. 007 is the magnitude of the so-called ‘strong force.'"

My wife's eyes glaze over. I've lost the last of my audience. "OK dear," she says, "I have to head out to the mall now."

I may as well just talk to the mirror. How can my loved ones not be interested in such weighty matters?

If not for this fundamental constant, which binds the protons and neutrons together in the nucleus of the atom, no chemistry could exist. Chemistry, most of us recall from high school, is the coming together of electrons in different atoms to form molecules, such as water. It is also represented as the force in nuclear reactions to be reckoned with when splitting or fusing atoms.

"Bye dear," I hear as she shakes her head, throws on a sweater and heads out the front door.

007 happens to be the proportion of the mass of the hydrogen nucleus converted to energy when the fusing of two hydrogen atoms produces helium. The creation and extinction of stars produces a whole range of elements scattered across the universe. As it turns out, 007 is ideal for supporting the formation of a whole range of elements in the periodic table. If 007 was a 005 value instead, then the universe would have remained as a boring sea of hydrogen gas. On the other hand, if 007 assumed the 009 metric, all of the available hydrogen would have fused to make only the heavier elements, denying the lighter elements, such as hydrogen and oxygen, the ability to form water.
Water and other such compounds are key to spawning life as we know it. Lucky for humanity that the result of the Big Bang some fourteen billion years ago provided the universe with a strong force that gave rise to complex life forms.

My daughter reenters the living room. "Dad, why are you smiling to yourself?"

I redirect my smile towards her, "I think I'll watch a Star Wars movie this evening." She continues past me and towards the front door, "Sounds good Dad, enjoy!"

I continue smiling as I search for Star Wars. To me, 007 means a life force spawned by the strong force.

May that force continue to be with us! A chuckle breaks out as I find the DVD.

R.K. Koslowsky spent 22 years in the high technology field of optical fiber transmission systems and caught the writing bug penning magazine articles for the industry. He resides in Sonoma County, CA, and is a member of the IEEE, SHOT, Sierra Club, SCAS, and the California Writers Club.

Twelfth Flash

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The Winner by Betty Allison

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