Fr.: grand nombre
A → dimensionless number representing the ratio of
various → physical constants. For example:
large number hypothesis
engâre-ye adadhâ-ye bozorg
Fr.: hypothèse des grands nombres
The idea whereby the coincidence of various → large numbers would bear a profound sense as to the nature of physical laws and the Universe. Dirac suggested that the coincidence seen among various large numbers of different nature is not accidental but must point to a hitherto unknown theory linking the quantum mechanical origin of the Universe to the various cosmological parameters. As a consequence, some of the → fundamental constants cannot remain unchanged for ever. According to Dirac's hypothesis, atomic parameters cannot change with time and hence the → gravitational constant should vary inversely with time (G∝ 1/t). Dirac, P. A. M., 1937, Nature 139, 323; 1938, Proc. R. Soc. A165, 199.