Much has been made of the conflict between science and Christianity, but the reality is that many of the greatest scientists believed in a Creator and were Christians. As Paul Davies, an agnostic scientist, has noted, "The early scientists were all deeply religious, and they believe that in doing their science they were uncovering God's handiwork…." 1 So in an authentic sense, by studying science, we grow in our understanding of the greatness, power, and love of our God because the universe He has made is spectacular and fills us with awe. As David writes in Psalm 19:1-2, "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge." Moreover, when we consider the habitat God has crafted for human life here on Earth, God's love is made manifest in our lives. In my personal faith journey, as I have grown in my understanding of the laws of physics, the fine-tuning of the universe, and the mechanisms and processes of life, I have grown correspondingly in my love and reverence for God.
So, for our students, the study of science is the opportunity to engage in their own self-discovery of the greatness of our God revealed in all that he has made. But the study of science has many other benefits. It is a powerful tool for developing intellect and reasoning skills, and it is an engine of human advancement that has provided technology and many benefits, comfort, and longevity to our lives. At CHS, students study three main scientific disciplines: biology, chemistry, and physics. Many students take advantage of our dual enrollment college-level courses in physics and biology. Electives, including anatomy and physiology, astronomy, and engineering design with 3D printing, round out our offerings.
Our annual science and engineering fair has proven to be an excellent vehicle for allowing our students to engage in guided scientific exploration of their own. Students begin by finding an area of interest and formulating a hypothesis or design goal. They then proceed to complete their project over ten weeks. Along the way, students must meet milestones and produce experimental results, scientific conclusions, and a final report, culminating in a presentation to knowledgeable judges. Thus, our science fair is one of the best ways for our students to learn how science and engineering are conducted in the real world, how to explain their work, and how to make presentations. With the science fair, opportunities for developing essential life skills abound.
Since 2012, CHS has competed for cash, prizes, and scholarships at the Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair hosted each year in March by Quinnipiac University, where about 500 of the best projects statewide are judged by highly qualified judges with backgrounds in science, engineering, research, and academics. The results our students have achieved are awe-inspiring. Each year, our students have garnered significant cash awards ranging from $25 gift cards to $500 cash awards, numerous plaques, trophies, and medallions, and several large college scholarships. The University of New Haven awarded one scholarship to Taryn Marshall for $80,000 over four years. Students who entered their CHS science projects into other state and national competitions have also achieved notable results. Rachel Brooks entered her CHS junior science fair project into the Connecticut Junior Science and Humanities Symposium and was awarded first place. Amazing as it sounds, Rachel submitted her work to the prestigious medical journal Rheumatology (the official journal of the British Society for Rheumatology published by Oxford University Press), which published it on January 7, 2021! Rachel went on to study at Princeton University. The following year, Benjamin Li, one of our brilliant Chinese exchange students, submitted his work to the Regeneron Science Talent Search and was named a Regeneron STS Scholar for 2022, an award given to only 300 students nationwide. Benjamin now studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Our CHS Science Fair engages students in the hands-on study of God's glorious creation. It cultivates taking initiative, reasoning skills, and perseverance, all things that can be used to bring glory to our God. Moreover, it encourages our students to pursue careers in science and science-related fields, medicine, and the many engineering disciplines, all with the enthusiastic encouragement of their CHS science teachers along the way. To God be the glory!
1 "Faith and Reason," program transcript, PBS, accessed December 1, 2023, https://www.pbs.org/faithandreason/transcript/margaret-frame.html.
Daniel Cote is the Science Department Chair at CHS. He teaches science, philosophy, and apologetics. He has a passion for encouraging students to consider science as a career and has been doing so at CHS since 2009. He is also a pastor and the founder of Multimedia Apologetics, an apologetics website ministry explaining and defending Christianity whose primary goal is evangelism. He greatly appreciates the opportunity to teach apologetics to CHS seniors. He holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maine, an MS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Bridgeport, a Master of Ministry in Apologetics from Southern Evangelical Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry in Theology and Apologetics from Liberty University. Dan is the author of Jesus Is God and Savior: How Prophecy, Science, and History Affirm the Truth of Christianity.