The constant N is the strength of the electrical forces that hold atoms together, divided by the force of gravity between them. If N had a few less zeros, only a short-lived minature universe could exist, no creature could grow larger than insects, and there would be no time for biological evolution.
It's value is 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
A clear and detailed explanation of why it must have this value is given in the book Just Six Numbers by Martin J Rees.
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last modified 02:37 2002/03/25