The Atom and the Atonement: Why we need models in science and theology

Chemistry graduate Joe Ogden draws a fascinating comparison between the apparent contradiction of the Holy Trinity and that of wave-particle duality in quantum physics, plus other interesting insights.

Science and Belief

22735559622_042f742d34_kAtoms by Cezary Borysiuk. Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)

If you ask a 14 year old, an 18 year old and an undergraduate to describe an atom you will get different answers. Ask them to draw an atom, and the discrepancies become even more noticeable.  A 14 year old will have no issues producing an image like the one below. The undergraduate is likely to look at you quizzically. “Draw an atom? You must be joking!”

atom-1341364_1920

Chemistry, much like the other sciences, relies upon models. As students progress through their chemistry education they are introduced to increasingly complex models of the atom. Each model is used to explain the various chemical observations that students encounter.

From age 11 to 16, students work with an atomic model that can provide an (adequate) explanation of why sodium chloride’s structure is composed of positive sodium ions and negative chlorine ions in a…

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