Don’t Leave Your Mind at the Door

Abbey Stirgwolt

Discussion group to explore physics and the heavenly realms

Religion and quantum theory.

This phrase might evoke images of a high school physics teacher smiling down from a pulpit on a Sunday morning, or a Sunday school class full of wide-eyed children memorizing atomic numbers.

How can two apparently opposite topics coexist?

Allow Aaron Meadows, director of campus ministries at Kent Presbyterian Church, to introduce you to his vision. Meadows is launching a “Quantum Mechanics and Philosophy” discussion group this fall for students and faculty interested in quantum theory and its implications in the spiritual realm.

“People want to know how we talk about reality, in particular how that shifts physicists’ views on God’s ability to interact with the world to quantum mechanics,” Meadows said.

“Everything is so structured and ’cause and effect’ within the material world that physicists didn’t allow for God’s activity,” Meadows said. “There’s this notion, though, that we can no longer predict what we used to be able to predict based on certain variables because we can’t know what the outcome will be – we’re just not sure how to determine that at the quantum level.”

Meadows spent his summer hanging out with students in the Rathskeller, listening to their thoughts and forming plans for a new year at Kent Presbyterian Church, known to the collegiate set as “Kent Prez”.

Three discussion groups, a writing, film and cultural issues group in addition to the quantum physics group, resulted. Meadows said he wanted to do something that incorporated the arts and included different disciplines.

“They’re not for everyone,” Meadows said. “The quantum groups are fairly in-depth, specialized.”

Meadows said 11 graduate and undergraduate physics students and two former physics faculty members have expressed interest in the group.

Although he isn’t sure how the meetings will be structured, Dr. Stanley Christenson, a former chair of the department of physics, plans to attend.

“My interest is to try to get a feel for what the questions are and to take it from there, Christenson said.

Though the quantum theory discussions take place at Kent Prez, non-churchgoers need not be intimidated. Meadows said everyone is welcome regardless of religion.

Meadows hopes to start the group in the next couple weeks but has not determined an exact date.

If you’re interested in more information about the group, contact Meadows at [email protected].

Contact religion reporter Abbey Stirgwolt at [email protected].