Adam Wright

I am a physics professor, an astrophysicist, and more importantly a follower of Jesus Christ. I'll attempt to explain the connection between my scientific pursuits and my Christian faith here, but a few paragraphs can hardly contain the full picture of this complex relationship between my calling and the creator who called me to it. If you're interested in hearing a deeper account of this connection, please reach out to me so we can talk in person. The twin doctrines of creation and incarnation lead me to believe in a world that is saturated with sanctity and dripping with divine grace. The God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob has created all things and the world we're surrounded by is, therefore, the first divine miracle. The second person of the trinity, the divine Logos, has become incarnate, taken on flesh, and lived among us in a radically immanent way, which reveals the overwhelming significance of creation--not only of mankind but of the cosmos as a whole. If we had eyes to see the world as God sees it, we would continually be filled with wonder at the grandeur of God's creation, but because we are fallen creatures most of the time we barely notice the miraculous gift that we live our entire earthly life within. Yet, because of God's prevenient grace, we're all capable of catching an occasional fleeting glimpse of this God's eye view of creation--we occasionally experience wonder--which is, I believe, the way we encounter nature when we encounter it with all of our faculties functioning as they were intended to function. Ultimately it is wonder--that experience of basking in the immensity and beauty of creation, longing to take it all in, yet aware that we cannot do so in totality--that led me to science, the study of nature. It's common for people to be led to wonder by the kind of images taken by the Hubble space telescope, less common for the mathematical expression of the laws underlying those heavenly bodies to do the same. Physicists are those few for whom natural laws expressed as equations are a source of wonder. Physics is a calling that God has placed on my life, and of course, he never calls anyone to a task without equipping them for that task. God has given me the gift of wonder, and for that, I am eternally grateful. I do believe that wonder is a universal human experience. It's one of the most immediate ways in which we're drawn out from the minutiae of our daily lives and up to God. In fact, worship is a kind of wonder. The psalmist tells us of his wonder when contemplating the heavens: "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day they pour forth speech, and night to night they reveal knowledge." Psalm 19 v1-2. I believe that wonder itself compels us to entertain the idea that this world really was created by God. If there is no divine significance to the cosmos, why do we find ourselves captivated by it? Perhaps God created each of us with the capacity to see the world as he sees it, and so we experience wonder at his infinite creation, awareness of our own finitude, and seek to understand our role as limited beings in a limitless world. Again, the psalmist shares this sentiment, saying "When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?" Psalm 8. We only wonder at that which is inexhaustible and limitless, something we can reach out and touch, but cannot contain or hold onto in its entirety. Nature is like that, limitless and beyond our capacity to fully understand. When encountering nature, we experience curiosity and there is a distinct pleasure in seeking knowledge of its operation, despite the fact that we cannot understand it in totality. I'm drawn toward science, the systematic inquiry into the workings of nature, by the pleasure of seeking to understand the cosmos. In my role as a science educator, I hope that I can whet students' appetite for knowledge of nature and prompt their curiosity to seek further understanding.

My Life

Favorite Quote

“Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the more often and steadily we reflect upon them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me. I do not seek or conjecture either of them as if they were veiled obscurities or extravagances beyond the horizon of my vision; I see them before me and connect them immediately with the consciousness of my existence.” ― Immanuel Kant, Critique of Practical Reason

My hobbies

Playing with my kids, spending time with friends and family, coaching youth baseball and football, being a Packers fan, working in my yard, hunting, and reading the great books of history, philosophy, literature, and above all theology

Fantasy dinner guests

John Wesley, Martin Luther, Johnathan Edwards, my grandfather Curt Nelson, Jesus, Peter, Paul, and the apostles.

Best advice I ever received

You cannot control what others do, you can only control what you do. Choose to not let the thoughts, words, or actions of others bother you, but instead concern yourself with your own thoughts, be sure they are truthful and wise, your own words, be sure they are clear and edifying, and your own actions, be sure they are virtuous.

My undergrad alma mater

University of Wisconsin - Madison

My worst subject in school

English and Spanish (I'm good at #s, not letters)

In college I drove

Ford Ranger

If I weren't a professor, I would

start my own museum

Favorite books

Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis, Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton, the Bible, and many others.

Favorite movies

Fight Club, the Matrix, and Inception come to mind...anything that makes you think long after the movie is over.

Favorite city

Up North, WI

Nobody knows I

frequently fantasize about starting my own museum

Current Research

I'm an assistant professor of physics at Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). I enjoy teaching intro physics, astronomy, and quantum mechanics. In my research, I'm an observational cosmologist interested in galaxy clusters and weak lensing. Trained as an optical astronomer (PhD in Physics from Stanford in 2019), my primary interest has been in measuring the mass of galaxy clusters-- the most massive objects in the universe-- using weak gravitational lensing.