Family Science Club

Pointing to the Author of Science


Kevin demonstrating a simple experiment, 2016

Image: Kevin mixing two liquids - many experiments cannot be done at home, though. Taken by Heidi Weaver.

Science Videos from the Royal Institution

While researching the childhood of Michael Faraday, I (Heidi)  learned about Britain's Royal Institution.

The Royal Institution was founded in March 1799, by several members of the Royal Society, primarily Joseph Banks, the president of the Royal Society, and George Finch, the Royal Institution's first president.

The general public could buy tickets to attend the lectures of famous scientists. Their experiments wowed audiences with poofs of smoke, curious sounds and mesmerizing transformations.

Michael Faraday's career began as a chemical assistant at the Royal Institution under Sir Humphry Davy. Faraday eventually gained the positions of Superintendent of the House and Director of the Laboratory.

Faraday also introduced the Christmas Lectures for children in 1825. To this day these lectures are presented throughout December.

The Royal Institution is still going strong. Their shows continue to captivate audiences with ever expanding scientific knowledge.

Lectures were first preserved in book form but with the coming of television and Internet their audience has grown. I was pleased to discover that their web site includes videos of their presentations. There are a variety of scientific subjects to choose from.

Do not try these experiments with your children at home unless you are a scientist and live in a fully equipped science lab. In fact, these videos are a great way to see those experiments you cannot do at home.

I enjoyed this particular video as I recalled Faraday's interest in electricity:

This year's Christmas Lectures was a series of three lectures about "How to Survive in Space." Sir Isaac Newton's laws of physics were noted as related to space travel.

"Chemical Curiosities" was the first lecture I watched. It was one of the featured favorites. I wanted to get a feel for this resource. It was fascinating and I highly recommend it.

The scientists in many Royal Institution videos make comments that reveal they embrace uniformitarianism. In contrast, we believe that God periodically has acted and does act in ways that are contrary to uniformitarianism. (Kevin will explain uniformitarianism more fully in a future Musings article.)

Yet, we have no disagreement with how the scientists in these videos explain what is happening in their demonstrations. Miracles cannot be reproduced in a lab. A miracle is something that does not normally happen, by definition.

God created order, or normalcy, by which experiments can be reproduced with a predictable result. Christians and others who believe God did and does miracles can be confident that they can do scientific research just as well as those who hold to uniformitarianism.

We can also learn a great deal from science done by people who do believe in uniformitarianism. One should know of that belief, though, so that he or she can spot where that belief colors a scientist's research, analysis and theories. More on that in yet another upcoming Musings article...