When you think back to your science lessons at school, what did they feel like?
The chances are that some people loved them, but most didn’t. Bits of school science may have been fun but too many people have only a muddled memory of lots of things they had to learn by heart, livened up with the occasional bit of practical work.
Recent efforts at reforming school science are concentrating on the notion of the ‘Big Ideas of Science’. With changes to the curriculum, the hope is that students won’t drown in the detail but will have a clear idea of what they are learning and why. Continue reading →
“To suppose that the eye…could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree. Yet…”
Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species
The ‘yet’, in Darwin’s introduction to ‘Organs of Extreme perfection and complication’ is very telling. The ideas that follow this oft-quoted sentence remind me a little of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians Continue reading →
There is a basic trajectory for a science PhD student, and it goes something like this. Enthusiasm and delight mingled with a frisson of fear, a gradual onset of hard reality and stress, perhaps a dash of boredom and possibly even some despair and disillusionment. This is followed by a long period of determination and hard work, which ends in joy and relief. This is the crucible in which Continue reading →
For mathematician Jennifer Siggers, imagination is vital to both her work and faith. In today’s podcast Jennifer explains why she expects to find a solution to the biological problems that she is studying, and why a Christian should be enthusiastic about doing science.
Following on from this week’s interview with Jennifer Siggers, here are some videos that I filmed when I visited her last summer. In the four clips below, Jennifer explains her work, her faith, how the two fit together, and her views on imagination in both science and Christianity.
I have blogged a number of times on imagination, but what do working scientists think about this subject? Dr Jennifer Siggers is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College London, where she works on medical applications of fluid dynamics. Having met her at a Christians in Scienceconference a couple of years before, I wanted to find out how imagination is relevant to her own life in the lab.
Imagination is highly valued in Western culture but not always recognised as an essential part of science. So Jennifer initially protested that she wasn’t sure she had anything to say about imagination, but eventually was able to speak with me at some length about how important it is in her work. Mental pictures, analogies and thought experiments are all important for a scientist. For a Christian, learning to use imagination can also enhance Continue reading →