There is a double meaning in the title The Power of alfa. The first meaning stresses the word “power”: the coupling constant alfa ~ 1/137 creates the whole visible universe—that’s power! Operating on the electron, alfa generates not only the photons of QED (which is well-known), but also the particles of QCD (which is not well-known). The second meaning of the book’s title involves the phrase “powers of alfa”, which relates to the scaling properties of the particles generated by alfa. The low-mass “threshold-state” particles have lifetimes that occur in groups which are separated from one another by factors of 1/137, and they have masses that are quantized in mass units (mass “bricks”) which exhibit reciprocal factors of 137 relative to the electron mass. These scalings, which are in “powers of alfa “, are illustrated in the book by means of one hundred and forty seven plots and graphs of the experimental lifetime and mass data. These displays clearly reveal the QCD u, d, s, c, b flavor structure of the threshold-state excitations.
The twin concepts of alfa -quantized lifetimes and masses have not yet been entered into the formalisms of QCD, even though they have been recognizable in the experimental data (and have been duly noted in the literature) for the past 37 years. The ongoing improvements in the elementary particle data base have sharpened these a-quantizations, and the frustration of particle theorists over the inability of QCD to calculate particle masses has continued to mount. These factors have combined together to create what seems to be a “tipping point” in elementary particle theory, wherein the need to a-quantize QCD may finally be realized. This is the viewpoint of the present author, and is laid out in detail in The Power of a. This topic has dominated my professional life as a physicist for the past 37 years, and I invite you to join in the development of this still-largely-unexplored pathway to elementary particle structure.
You can order the book “The Power of alpha” from the World Scientific site