Category: Cosmology

Should we fake the Star of Bethlehem?

Many Advents ago, a colleague and I spent hours stringing hundreds of origami paper stars in the high rafters of our sanctuary. We then engineered a giant, five-foot-wide Moravian star out of white foam board to hang in the midst of that shower of stars. It was a slightly frivolous task for two ordained Ministers of Word and Sacrament, but completely worth it when we saw the wonder and delight on the upturned faces…  [more]

The importance of being human

What does science teach us about humanity’s uniqueness, importance and place in the universe? Often, the sheer size of space and time are invoked to underscore our smallness and insignificance. But perhaps that has it backwards, says Marcelo Gleiser. Writing recently for NPR’s Cosmos & Culture blog, Gleiser presents the argument that the scope of the universe in fact underscores humanity’s…  [more]

Gravitational waves and the voice of God

"We did it! …Up to now we've been deaf to gravitational waves, but today we are able to hear them." So said Caltech’s David Reitze, executive director of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), after it was announced last week that scientific history had been made. For the first time ever, humanity “heard” what Albert Einstein hypothesized 100 years ago: a ripple…  [more]

Humbled by Pluto

After traveling 3.6 billion miles, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft came within 7,700 miles of Pluto last week, sending us close-up images of that dwarf planet for the first time. The pictures shed new, surprising insight, including huge mountains likely made of water ice. There were also no impact craters on the surface of Pluto, indicating that the surface is (relatively) young. Another surprise was that…  [more]

Is civilization natural? A Christian answer

In a recent piece for NPR’s Cosmos & Culture blog, Adam Frank poses this question: is civilization natural? As Frank ponders the global effects of modern cities, he asks whether we need to reconceptualize standard dichotomies, such as city/country, built environment/wilderness and culture/nature. He notes that we commonly map key values onto this distinction as well, either exalting civilization as holding…  [more]

How the Cosmos reboot allows for religion

The original Cosmos television series is widely regarded as one of the most significant science events in TV history. Sunday night’s reboot attempted to live up to the hype. With the familiar face of Neil deGrasse Tyson at the helm, 10 networks simultaneously airing the show and President Barack Obama kicking the series off, the premiere episode got underway with great anticipation. The first show struck some…  [more]

How math illumines our infinite God

This is the time of year when anxious North American educators and policy makers get to do their math. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has just released its 2012 student survey results - which largely focus on a 15-year-old’s understanding of mathematics, reading and science - and the math numbers are troubling. Canada ranked 13th, while the United States placed 36th. While the…  [more]

Supernovas: birth, death and resurrection in the universe

It's that time of the year when we find ourselves thinking about stars. The ones we place on our Christmas trees, the ones glittering in storefront decorations and the one that led the Magi to Jesus. Our family nativity set didn't come with a star, but my daughter found a way to hang an ornament from a lamp above the manger. It's a bit unconventional, but it works. TC columnist John Van Sloten…  [more]

NASA’s canticle of the sun

We’re sending you into the weekend with something lighter – and we mean that literally. Earlier this week, NASA released a video compiling three years’ worth of continual observation of the sun in about three minutes. According to the agency, two images per day were used to create the video. NPR reported on the music used for the production – it’s “A Lady’s Errand of…  [more]

The Biggitude of God

One crystal-clear night during a recent family camping trip in the Colorado Rockies, my 4-year-old tilted his head back, gazed up at the sky and did something every kid tries sooner or later. He attempted to count the stars. He made it to nine before he gave up.  It was a valiant effort (for a 4-year-old). But in a recent blog post previewing David Blatner’s new book, Spectrums, NPR science…  [more]

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