Saturday, February 28, 2009

Mathematics, Cosmology, and Speaking of Faith

I haven't gone back through this blog to count the number of times I've recommended the NPR program Speaking of Faith. I listen on Sunday mornings, and I'm always amazed at how enriched I feel, both intellectually and spiritually; in fact, I know people who claim that they get more out of this program than they do out of church. I've certainly been to churches where I could say the same; happily, that's not true of my current church.

Last week's show was one of those shows that I've gone back to listen to several times, because it was just that fascinating. It featured theoretical physicist Janna Levin, who talked about her work and larger issues of what the universe looks like and our perceptions of it and how that might impact our faith. I've spent the week thinking about what she said about the perspective of the quantum particle, which would be quite comfortable with the idea that something can be both a wave and a particle, that something can just vanish without explanation. To a quantum particle, our world would seem rigid and strange.

I'm probably not explaining this well--I can just barely get my head around quantum physics, much less explain it to others. Happily Janna Levin doesn't share my problem. Go here to hear the show, to hear the unedited tapes, to discover other resources.

This show moved me so much that I ordered both of Levin's books. I'm envious, so envious, of one of the titles: A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines. Is that not one of the most fabulous titles?

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