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#33: A Guide to Majoring in the Hard Sciences

This episode is the first in an intermittent series on majoring in the various academic fields (broadly speaking). My hope is to help you understand more of what is involved in various areas of study, how these fields relate to the Christian faith, and practical advice as you major in this area. My guest for each episode in this series will be someone with many years experience in the field, as well as a robust faith in Christ, and has learned to flourish both academically and spiritually in this field of study.

We begin today with a focus on majors in the hard sciences. My guest in this episode is Dr. Bob Kaita, emeritus Senior Physicist at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, where he has conducted nuclear fusion energy research for nearly four decades. Bob has also been the thesis advisor for students who have pursued careers in government and industry as well as academia, mentoring students through their studies in plasma physics.

He is a fellow of the American Physics Society, and a recipient of the Kaul Prize for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research and Technology Development for pioneering work in components for fusion devices. Bob is also a fellow and past president of the American Scientific Affiliation, one of the largest organization of Christians in science and engineering.


In this podcast we discuss:

  • How Bob first got interested in a career in the sciences
  • How Bob’s coming to faith in Christ in high school connected with his love of science
  • The role Bob’s parents played in helping his pursue a career in science
  • A scientist who followed God’s call that serves as a role model for Bob
  • Career opportunities open to those with degrees in the sciences
  • The importance of having a servant’s heart as a scientist
  • Signs you may be called to be a scientist
  • How Bob’s faith helped him in his studies of physics, rather than be a hindrance
  • Some areas of overlap between faith and physics
  • How Bob thinks about areas of alleged conflict between science and faith
  • The centrality of one’s worldview in interpreting scientific data
  • The exciting future for research in the sciences
  • The grounding of a Christian’s worth as a scientist
  • The valuable role of humility and spiritual formation in the life of a Christian scientist
  • Books and professional societies that help connect faith and science
  • The importance of understanding the relationship between science and the philosophy of science
  • Doing science vs. faith-science integration
  • Why there are so many Christians in the hard sciences
  • The role of imagination in the practice of science
  • The importance of being a good writer as a scientist
  • Why scientists need to understand truth from other disciplines, and vice-versa
  • Limitations of science that believers should be aware of
  • Balancing “follow the science” with complete and blind faith in science
  • The new “priesthood” of scientists, and the resulting backlash against science
  • A final word of encouragement to budding scientists


Resources mentioned during our conversation and later suggested by Bob:

One Comment

  1. Kristine's Story - Global Scholars
    Kristine's Story - Global Scholars July 10, 2023

    […] guest in this episode of the College Faith podcast is Dr. Bob Kaita, emeritus Senior Physicist at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, where he […]

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