I am working on a PhD in Physics, and my research focuses on understanding the microphysical processes governing ice formation in cirrus clouds through both experimentation and computational modeling.
How did you first hear about Lumen Christi?
I first heard about the Lumen Christi Institute through Calvert House, the Catholic student center on campus. I attended one of the Thursday night non-credit courses because I was interested in deepening my understanding of the teachings and history of the Catholic Church.
How has your participation in Institute programs contributed to your growth as a scholar?
Although the talks I have attended through the Institute have not been directly related to my work as a scientist, they have deepened my understanding and respect for the intellectual traditions of the Church and broadened my understanding of aspects of the Church’s social teachings. They have introduced me to the works of many important historical figures whose work and lives have shaped the Church’s history and traditions. I have enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about subject areas that are very far outside of my own area of expertise.
Hearing from creative and hard-working scholars from many different disciplines has also served to reinforce the idea that one’s development as an intellectual and a scholar, whether in science or in the humanities, is a vital endeavor, and can and should be integrally linked to one’s development as a human person.
I have been particularly interested in learning more about Catholic Social Thought, specifically through the non-credit course in the Spring of 2010, and the recent discussion on Pacem in terris; this has lead to my reflection on how such teachings might impact my own work as a scientist, both in terms of what I study, how I interact with other scientists in my discipline, and how scientific inquiry can contribute to human society in ethical and meaningful ways.
What do you plan to do after you have completed your degree?
I would like to continue doing scientific research, although I’m not yet sure whether this would be in an academic setting or in the private sector.
What role does the Institute play on the University of Chicago campus?
From my experience, the Institute has consistently provided a unique opportunity for high-quality scholarly discussions at the university by bringing together scholars from different universities and across disciplines to reflect on the Church’s cultural, historical and philosophical traditions. It also serves as a reminder on campus that the Church’s intellectual tradition is still alive and ready to engage with the most vital issues facing the world today.
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