Wernher von Braun: The Christian Rocket Scientist
- Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Editor's note: This is part 2 of a two- part series on Wernher von Braun, the "Father of Modern Rocketry" Read Part 1, "Profiles in Christianity & Science: Wernher von Braun" for a more detailed history of Charles Babbage's childhood and career as a scientist.
Von Braun: The Christian
We are fortunate that Wernher von Braun left us with numerous quotations that reflected his religious beliefs. They serve as excellent tools to view science in light of the awesome power of God. We found the following to be particularly interesting:
"While technology controls the forces of nature around us, ethics try to control the forces of nature within us. I think it is a fair assumption that the Ten Commandments are entirely adequate--without amendments--to cope with all the problems the technological revolution not only has brought up, but will bring up in the future. The real problem is not a lack of ethical legislation, but a lack in day-to-day guidance and control. When science freed itself from the bonds of religious dogma, thus opening the way for technological revolution, the Church also lost much of its influence on the ethical conduct of man."
"They (evolutionists) challenge science to prove the existence of God. But must we really light a candle to see the sun? They say they cannot visualize a Designer. Well, can a physicist visualize an electron? What strange rationale makes some physicists accept the inconceivable electron as real while refusing to accept the reality of a Designer on the grounds that they cannot conceive Him?"
"To be forced to believe only one conclusion--that everything in the universe happened by chance--would violate the very objectivity of science itself. What random process could produce the brains of a man or the system of the human eye?"
"In this age of space flight, when we use the modern tools of science to advance into new regions of human activity, the Bible--this grandiose stirring history of the gradual revelation and unfolding of moral law--remains in every way an up-to-date book."
Have you ever heard the phrase, "It's not rocket science!"? What exactly is rocket science? Rocket science may seem like an overwhelming field of study, but like anything else, if you break it up into small pieces you'll find that there is no magic, just lots of things to learn and understand. I had a chance to work on a system that inspected space shuttle solid rocket motors. The work took me to the Marshall Space Flight Center where I got to see many of the different things that go into making a rocket. Virtually any engineering and science field has application:
- Mechanical Engineering - Design of the rocket motor casings
- Electrical Engineering - Design of motor control circuits
- Materials Engineering - Selection of the best metals to use
- Civil Engineering - Design of the structures and large buildings required
- Physics - Calculations to support design and construction
- Chemistry - Making sure materials don't interact or corrode
- Software Engineering - It takes a lot of software to launch a rocket
And the list goes on!
I even saw a need for scuba divers! They had a very large water tank with a satellite in it. People dressed in space suits, and assisted by divers, practiced maintenance and repairs in a kind of "zero gravity" environment!
Wernher Von Braun Quotes:
Von Braun had a clever wit that is revealed in a number of quotes attributed to him:
"Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing."
"Crash programs fail because they are based on the theory that, with nine women pregnant, you can get a baby a month."
"For my confirmation, I didn't get a watch and my first pair of long pants, like most Lutheran boys. I got a telescope. My mother thought it would make the best gift.
"We can lick gravity, but sometimes the paperwork is overwhelming."
Ray and Gale Lawson have been homeschooling their 3 children since 1995. Ray holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Virginia Military Institute and works for Washington Group International. Gale holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of South Carolina and is full-time mom and teacher. They are members of Breezy Hill Baptist Church in Graniteville, SC. Questions, comments and suggestions are always welcomed and can be emailed to them at firstname.lastname@example.org (Ray) or email@example.com (Gale).
This article was originally published in the Jul/Aug '05 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine as part of an ongoing series of "Profiles in Christianity & Science". For more information, visit http://HomeSchoolEnrichment.com. To request a free sample copy, visit http://homeschoolenrichment.com/magazine/request-sample-issue.html
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