So I typically reply "I love chemistry." And I mean it, but sometimes my claim comes with no reason or feeling, like I've buried them beneath my fears of failure or rejection or my enjoyable but chemistry-free times this summer. I'm also secretly afraid that I'm just fooling myself thinking that I can actually do grad school in orgo (Ha, according to TA training, this is called "Impostor Syndrome").
But now that I'm enveloped in organic chemistry problem sets again (at last! No, seriously, I find them fun, if difficult), I've been re-discovering why I like the subject.
That's a bit of a grand word, but it rings true. When I took freshman pre-med chemistry, I'd never learned quantum mechanics. I'd never heard of wave-particle duality or molecular orbital theory, I'd never seen the different shapes of the s, p, and d electron orbitals derived from Schrödinger's Equation (not that I cannot derive them for you, even now - sorry, Professor). I hadn't heard of Fermi contact affecting NMR spectrums. Really, I had a set, sensible way of thinking.
|From Wikipedia: Two atomic p electron orbitals form a molecular pi bond.|
The world was so intricate and crazy and above our current mind's understanding. There was so waiting much to be discovered.
Soon I became obsessed and determined to study this subject. When I was introduced to organic chemistry, I found the puzzle-like aspect of the subject both enthralling and enjoyable. And working in a lab proved exciting, interesting ... and full of failure, because chemistry definitely teaches you to fail. Life lessons, I suppose.
***People say science and religion cannot coexist. Many religious people claim scientists have an anti-God agenda in promoting global warming and relative quantum mechanics and evolution. Many scientists view religious adherents as willfully ignorant, scared of both facts and truth.
And so it's quite scary to say I'm a Christian and a scientist. Even if Christianity is what I believe and science what I do, they're both parts of me, both influence the other, and so separating them isn't possible (nor is it helpful).
(Sidenote: I should clarify, when I speak of the two influencing the other, that I do not mean I consider the Bible a science book or science a holy word).
The notion that the universe is nothing we can decipher, that sucks me in like a black hole. It's crazy-freaking-awesome. I don't want a God I can fit into my small box of limited understanding; in that case, there's no clearer sign he's a made-up entity of my mind.
I want a God who leaves me wonderstruck.
So, if the universe is so beyond our current understanding, how much more is God? How much more is his love and mercy and goodness and holiness?
I find that exciting.
And so chemistry and Christianity are not a conflict in my life. Both science and faith draw me closer in a dance with God (If I danced, that is). ;)
What are your science/faith experiences?