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In his image. Imagine!

An interview with Dr. Wow

In his image. Imagine!

During Vacation Bible School this July, my church was transformed into a “Workshop of Wonders.” Each day the campers were invited to observe the activities of a scientist named Dr. Wow in his laboratory. After VBS I caught up with Dr. Wow for a short interview.

RE: Why did the VBS leaders incorporate a scientist of your eminence into the daily programming?
Dr. Wow: At first I thought it was just because my orange hair and crazy socks matched the VBS decorations. But now I think there were two reasons. First, as it turns out, what I was doing in my lab connected well to the VBS Wonder Words “Imagine and Build with God,” and that phrase fit in perfectly with my efforts to build my latest contraption. One day, struggling to find a specific piece for my contraption, my assistant Sam was able to imagine how we could use a cardboard tube and a ping-pong ball! Imagination is so important in science, and it is so important for working with God too. We might feel little and insignificant, but if we offer God what we have, then he will use us to build wonderful things.

What’s the other reason you were invited to VBS?
Well, God created our world, and through science we learn not just about the world of wonders but also about the One who made it. I think the VBS leaders wanted the children to know that like the Bible, the creation tells us something about God. One of my good scientist friends says that creation is covered with “the fingerprints of God.” Just as when we touch something we leave our fingerprints on it, so too whatever God touches has his fingerprints.

Can you really talk to children about science?
Actually, it is often much easier to talk to children about science than parents. Children are open to the beauty and wonder of creation and say “wow, that’s neat” much more easily than many adults. Children are curious about all sorts of things and appreciate the magic at the heart of science. As we grow up, we can get so bogged down by details that we lose our appreciation for the mystery and richness that God built into his world of wonders.

You mentioned your young assistant. Did he help you maintain that appreciation?
Oh yes! But there were times when Sam also helped me to stay focused on the specifics of the task at hand. Science often requires that people work together in order to successfully understand some aspect of the world. This cooperation is also something that should inform our relationship with God; we need to work with him, not against him. It was only because of Sam that my contraption finally worked.

Can you tell us more about your contraption?
My contraptions are top secret, so I can’t reveal too much to your readers, but I will say that contraptions are very important in science. Sometimes, to see God’s fingerprints, we need tools to look at very large or very small things or look much faster or slower in time to really see how things work. At other points there may be a process that needs to be carried out, something that needs to be frozen or baked or sterilized. Also, we may need to make equipment to really explore something.

What do children need to know about science?
Science is thought by some to turn people away from God and weaken our faith, and many Christians try to avoid it. For me, however, it is the exact opposite: I see the WOW of God when I look into the world he has made. When I find out how something works it lets me see into the mind of God, and I can see that we have a caring, good God who puts everything in its place. Chaos is replaced by the order spoken of in the beginning of God’s Word, the Bible. That is why I think it is very important to introduce children to science at a young age.

I have been admiring your bright orange hair. Is it orange because you supported Holland in the World Cup soccer tournament or because of some experiment that went wrong?
Don’t you like orange? It is my favourite colour, and I once made a hair-changing contraption just so I could get this WOW of a hair colour.

Dr. Wow, thank you for taking the time to talk with CC about science for children.

About the Author
In his image. Imagine!

Rudy Eikelboom, Columnist

Rudy Eikelboom, a Professor of Psychology, has now been on the dark side of the University as Chair of the Psychology Department at Wilfrid Laurier University for five years, and his hair is considerably grayer. He is proud of his two children and three grandchildren (soon to be four). A member of the Waterloo Christian Reformed Church, he serves on the Waterloo Campus Committee. Despite all these activities, he still enjoys working with rats when he can find some time.