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AWAKE! JULY 2014

 INTERVIEW | WENLONG HE

An Experimental Physicist Explains His Faith

An Experimental Physicist Explains His Faith

WENLONG HE first studied physics in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China. He helps edit an international journal of technology and has had dozens of papers published in scientific literature. At present, Wenlong He works for Scotland’s University of Strathclyde. As a youth, he believed in evolution, but later he concluded that life was created. Awake! asked him about his faith.

Tell us about your background.

I was born in 1963 and grew up in China, in a village south of the Yangtze River in Jiangsu Province. It is a subtropical area famous for its food production, so it is often called the land of rice and fish. As a child, I used to wonder: ‘Why does nature provide so many tasty foods? Did they come about by chance? Which came first—the chicken or the egg?’ Atheism is predominant in China, so at school I was taught about evolution.

What about your family?

My parents were atheists. My mother did farmwork, while my father worked as an architect and established a construction company. I’m the eldest of their five sons. Sadly, two of my brothers died young. That caused me much grief, and I wondered: ‘Why do people die? Will I ever see my brothers again?’

Why did you study science?

I wanted to study physics because I was intrigued by the natural world and I thought physics might answer the questions that had intrigued me since childhood.

What is your field of research?

I explore ways of accelerating charged particles to speeds close to the speed of light. I do this to study the structure of atoms. I also investigate  how to generate high-power radiation with a frequency between that of microwave and infrared radiation. Although my research has commercial value, it is also linked to efforts to understand how the universe began.

How did you become interested in the Bible?

In 1998, two of Jehovah’s Witnesses visited my home. They offered to show me the Bible’s answers to my questions. My wife, Huabi, who is also a research scientist, joined us. We had never seen a Bible before, but we were impressed by its practical advice. We noticed how the Witness couple who visited us benefited by applying Bible principles. They were happy and enjoyed an uncomplicated way of life. But what the Bible says about God set me to wondering again whether the universe could have been created. As a physicist, my job is to understand nature. So I decided to give the facts some careful thought.

As a physicist, my job is to understand nature. So I decided to give the facts some careful thought

What facts did you consider?

First, I knew that a closed system cannot become more organized or remain organized unless acted upon by an external agent. That is the second law of thermodynamics. Since the universe and life on earth are highly ordered, I concluded that they must be products of an external agent, a Creator. The second fact was that the universe and the earth seem to be specifically designed to support life.

What evidence of design did you see?

Practically all life on earth depends on energy from the sun. This energy travels through space as radiation. It comes to earth in a vast spectrum of wavelengths. The shortest are the lethal gamma rays. Then come X-rays, ultraviolet rays, visible light, infrared, microwaves, and the longest of all, radio waves. Remarkably, our atmosphere blocks much harmful radiation while allowing other needed radiation to reach the earth’s surface.

Why did that fact impress you?

I was intrigued by the introduction to the Bible’s creation account and its reference to light. It states: “God said: ‘Let there be light.’ Then there was light.” * Only a very narrow band of the vast spectrum of solar radiation is visible light, but light is vital for life. Plants need it to produce food, and we need light to see. The atmosphere’s special transparency to light cannot be a coincidence. Even more remarkable is the tiny amount of ultraviolet light that reaches the earth’s surface.

Why is that significant?

Some ultraviolet radiation is critical. We need a small amount of it on our skin to produce vitamin D, which is vital for bone health and evidently for protection from cancer and other diseases. However, too much of this particular radiation causes skin cancer and eye cataracts. In its natural state, the atmosphere allows only a tiny amount of this ultraviolet radiation to reach the earth’s surface—and it is just the right amount. For me, that is evidence that someone designed the earth to sustain life.

Gradually Huabi and I became convinced that there is a Creator and that he inspired the Bible. In 2005, we became Jehovah’s Witnesses, and now we share in teaching the Bible to others.

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