I grew up attending church with my family in Ohio and can’t remember a time when I did not know who Jesus was or what He did. Even though I had believed the claims of Jesus were true when I was a young child, it had seemed almost “too easy” at the time to become a Christian and I didn’t think I had enough life experience to make such a decision. However, as I got older, I came to realize that the message of Christ is actually quite simple.
When I was 17, I made a decision to make Jesus Christ the Lord of my life. After reading the Bible and talking to other Christians about their experience of knowing God through Jesus, I decided that Jesus was truly God’s Son, that He loved me and died to pay the price for all of the wrong things I had done in the past or would do in the future, and that He was preparing a place for me in heaven where I would spend eternity with Him. I learned through the Bible that the purpose of my life was to worship and know God, the Creator of all life.
As a professor of astronomy, I have had several opportunities to talk with people about my faith as it relates to our understanding of the Universe. Many people want to know how a scientist can also have faith in God. I explain that while science is great for helping us understand how the world we live in works, it doesn't satisfy questions about life's meaning. I try to use these conversations to explain that the true value of life can only be tied to something real and concrete and that my experience and growing relationship with Jesus Christ, the creator of the Universe, is real and gives my life meaning.
I believe that God has a purpose for me as a scientist who is also a Christian. He has given me the chance to witness both to non-Christians (who see science as incompatible with a belief in God) and to Christians (who may view science as an tool working against God). My personal vision is to expand on this type of outreach and serve as an intermediary between the scientific world and the Christian world.
My research aims to identify and understand the population of galaxies known as AGN or Active Galactic Nuclei. These galaxies contain supermassive black holes in their centers with masses between a million and a billion times that of the Sun. As material spirals into the black hole, they emit enormous amounts of light at a range of wavelengths.
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