The Fine-Structure Constant: Evidence of Design in Nature | The Institute for Creation Research

The Fine-Structure Constant: Evidence of Design in Nature

The job of physicists is to worry about numbers, but one number has perplexed physicists for more than a century. That number is 0.00729735256—approximately 1/137. This is the fine-structure constant. It appears everywhere in the equations of quantum physics.

The fine-structure constant, designated by the Greek letter alpha (α), is one of the many constants of nature that power our laws of physics, like the speed of light, the gravitational constant, or Planck’s constant. These constants can have different values depending upon which system of units are used to express them. For instance, the speed of light in vacuum is 186,000 miles per second, but it is also 300,000 kilometers per second. However, α is a pure number, without any units.

Something bizarre and compelling about this number has led many of the founders of quantum mechanics to be obsessed with it. Paul Dirac, a theoretical physicist who is considered one of the founders of quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics, called it “the most fundamental unsolved problem in physics.”1 Even Richard Feynman, a 1965 Nobel Prize winner in physics for his contributions to the development of quantum electronics, pondered its mysteries his entire life. He remarked that “all good theoretical physicists put this number up on their wall and worry about it.”2 What is it about this one number that makes it the worthy subject of the close attention of savants?

Additionally, the fine-structure constant sets the “strength” of the electromagnetic force.3 The greater the chance of interaction between the electron and electromagnetic fields, the more of an electromagnetic disturbance each electron will make. This is why the fine-structure constant appears in formulas that depend on electromagnetic force. The major question, however, remains: Why does α take on the value that it does, and why does this specific combination of other fundamental constants come out to be exactly α?

The fine-structure constant sets the size of atoms. A larger value means that electrons would be closer to nuclei, making them more tightly bound and less able to participate in chemical bonds. A smaller value would mean that electrons were less tightly bound, making atoms and molecules less stable. Its precise value could not be more important.

Physicists do not know why our universe ended up with this particular value for the fine-structure constant, or many of the other fundamental constants, for that matter. Many conventional physicists believe that these constants were set more or less randomly at the beginning of the universe. However, it would be surprising if they landed on just the right values to allow for the formation of life. Though a professing atheist, Richard Feynman poetically mused that “you might say the ‘hand of God’ wrote that number, and ‘we don’t know how He pushed His pencil.’”4

Because there is still so much unknown about this constant, physicists have merely hit the wavetops in the analysis of the fine-structure constant. However, given the uniqueness and complexity of this constant, it’s logical to conclude that our physical existence resulted from extraordinary design rather than chance or evolutionary causes. As science advances and untangles the mysteries of our universe, scientists continue to discover how incredibly complex yet tailored our universe is.

As Psalm 147:5 declares, “Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.”


  1. Wolchover, N. Physicists Nail Down the “Magic Number” That Shapes the Universe. Quanta Magazine. Posted on December 2, 2020.
  2. Buchanan, M. 2010. Think of a number. Nature Physics. 6: 833.
  3. Seigel, E. Ask Ethan: What Is The Fine Structure Constant And Why Does It Matter? Forbes. Posted on May 25, 2019.
  4. Richard Feynman Quote. LibQuotes. Posted on, accessed July 1, 2023.

*Dr. Corrado earned a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from Colorado State University and a Th.M. from Liberty University. He is a freelance contributor to ICR’s Creation Science Update, works in the nuclear industry, and is a senior officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve.

The Latest
Fire Sensory Capabilities of the Venus Flytrap
Fascinating discoveries have been made regarding the amazing Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula).1 For example, all parts of this amazing plant...

What Really Swallowed Jonah? | The Creation Podcast: Episode...
The book of Jonah contains the historical account of the prophet Jonah. In verse 17 of chapter 1, the text states that the Lord prepared a great...

More Flood Evidence
Paleontologists recently discovered the partial fossils of two new species of dinosaur just outside of Casablanca. As stated in a Science Direct article,...

New York Times Editorial: Big Bang Unraveling?
Two physicists have suggested in a recent New York Times guest editorial that Big Bang cosmology ‘may be starting to unravel.’1...

Your Functional ''Yolk Sac''
For decades, evolutionists pointed to dozens of ‘useless artifacts’ of the human body to make their questionable case for evolution. But...

The Beauty of Creation: Created for God’s Own Glory
Have you ever wondered why a sunset on a beach is captivating, snowcapped mountains are breathtaking, and a valley filled with wildflowers is enchanting? Scripture,...

Devastating, Dangerous, and Deadly Bacteria? | The Creation Podcast:...
Bacteria are everywhere! While we can't see them with the naked eye, these little critters are everywhere, even in and on your body! Some of...

Pre-Flood Reptile Fossil Discovered With Baleen
Baleen whales (suborder Mysticeti) are amazing filter-feeding mammals of the sea. They belong to a group called the Cetacea. Evolutionists suggest they...

September 2023 ICR Wallpaper
"If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them, then I will give you rain in its season, the land shall yield its produce, and...

Is the Earth Round?
Some readers might think the answer to this question is so obvious that maybe we’re offering it as a kind of joke—but it’s no joke....