In order to represent the Universe mathematically, physicists use a handful of constants, such as the speed of light, or the gravitational constant.

One called the “fine structure constant”, or alpha, helps describe how the forces hold atoms together and interact with light.

Researchers recently revealed that alpha might have changed over the history of the Universe, but a new study from the European Southern Observatory refutes this evidence. By studying the light from a distant quasar with a high degree of precision, they found that alpha doesn’t seem to have changed over time.

Detecting or constraining the possible time variations of fundamental physical constants is an important step toward a complete understanding of basic physics and hence the world in which we live. (Continue and see photo).

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