It may be appropriate to quote a statement of Poincare, who said (partly in jest no doubt) that there must be something mysterious about the normal law since mathematicians think it is a law of nature whereas physicists are convinced that it is a mathematical theorem.
The goal is nothing other than the coherence and completeness of the system not only in respect of all details, but also in respect of all physicists of all places, all times, all peoples, and all cultures.
Physicists love this number not just because it is dimensionless, but also because it is a combination of three fundamental constants of nature. Why do these constants come together to make the particular number 1/137.036 and not some other number?
I’m relieved to see that even brilliant physicists make mistakes. Kohler looked over. What do you mean? Whoever wrote that note made a mistake. That column isn’t Ionic. Ionic columns are uniform in width. That one’s tapered. It’s Doric—the Greek counterpart. A common mistake. Kohler did not smile. The author meant it as a joke, Mr. Langdon. Ionic means containing ions—electrically charged particles. Most objects contain them.