Complete Podcast Interview Transcript:  

TOM RUDELIUS, pHD, Institute of Advanced Study of Theoretical Physics

Announcer:                        00:06                    

Welcome to the Purpose Nation Podcast. Inspiring conversations with Christians in science, technology and industries of the future. For more information or to make a tax-deductible contribution, visit

Brad Cooper:                     00:19                    

This is Brad Cooper with Purpose Nation. And today we are thrilled to be joined by Theoretical Physicist Dr. Tom Rudelius. Tom welcome. How are you this evening?

Tom Rudelius:                   00:27                    

Thanks. I'm doing well.

Brad Cooper:                     00:28                    

Tom is a young and up and coming physics star has been an athlete and so nothing better to do than talk nerdy Christian stuff with me on a Friday night.

Tom Rudelius:                   00:28                    

Yep, that's right.

Brad Cooper:                     00:40                    

I guess that makes two of us. So I shouldn't I shouldn't talk. Thanks so much for joining us Dr. Rudelius and looking forward to discussion on some pretty interesting topics like faith and science, lie detector tests perhaps. We'll talk about and some interesting things there. So looking forward to it. First a little background on Doctor Rudelius. He just got his Ph.D. and also I believe M.A. in physics from Harvard and is about to start his post-doctorate fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and Dr. Rudelius had super undergrad, I believe. He had a triple undergrad major of math, physics and statistical science from Cornell.  So we had to get three, couldn't decide, so OK might as well go for all three. Sounds like quite an overachiever there and he's been granted Fellowship's awards. He's published many scientific papers, has given talks around the world in places like India and other places on various aspects of theoretical physics. Also as I understand it a bit of a sports fan. It sounds like so what teams in sports are your favorites right now?

Tom Rudelius:                   01:46                    

That's right. Well my family is from Minnesota so I was raised as a Minnesota sports fan across the board. Especially grew up playing baseball. So the minute Minnesota Twins are my favorite team.

Brad Cooper:                     01:57                    

There we go. OK. So I didn't adopt the Red Sox or anything while you're up there ha?

Tom Rudelius:                   01:57                    

No no never.

Brad Cooper:                     02:04                    

Well I figured that's why I'd be willing to do the talk with me right now because I think they have a game going on right now. OK good. Very busy guy. And but it's still time to take time for the sports. OK. So give us an update? You know what you're doing right now on your transition here and your post doctorate work that's coming up. What are some of the things that you're going to be working on there?

Tom Rudelius:                   02:22                    

As he said I just finished up my thesis at Harvard and moving to the Institute for Advanced Study. I'm pretty much going to be continuing a lot of the research projects and I've already been working on. So I study string theory and the early universe and the relationship between the two and there are a lot of interesting questions still to be explored.

Brad Cooper:                     02:42                    

Great. And I'd love to hear more about that. I'm going to take a shift back though and go back in time a little bit. So in terms of your development of interest in science and physics, is there a point in your life that you remember that you said I wanted to be a physicist or was it more of a gradual transition maybe an interest in math or science or some other area?to

Tom Rudelius:                   03:03                    

Right. It was sort of a gradual transition. I've been good at math and science for as long as I can remember. I've been heavily influenced by a number of teachers and professors that I had who have really been great who have let me down this route into academia. I was planning to go to grad school in math for most of my undergraduate career but starting my junior year at Cornell I took some business classes that I really enjoyed and it sort of started pushing me into more physics direction. And so that's where I am today.

Brad Cooper:                     03:32                    

OK. And any science or math background in your family?

Tom Rudelius:                   03:37                    

Notnot really. My dad and my grandpa both started out as engineers but struggled once they got to fluid dynamics and again I think has an engineering degree. But he's now a professor in marketing and my dad is a management consultant.

Brad Cooper:                     03:51                    

OK but maybe still a little analytical aspects there, I'm guessing. if there were some some different you know fork in the road back there in your past and you didn't go on to maybe even pursue math or physics eventually what career do you think you'd be and what would be your second choice right now do you think?

Tom Rudelius:                   04:07                    

Yeah that's a tough question. Growing up I really love sports and I was never good enough to actually be a professional athlete but I would have enjoyed doing something like Sports Analytics, getting to do sports math basically. Yes since I became a Christian in college I think I've become more interested in questions of faith and also adopted sort of a more global perspective. So I think either working in the church or else working in some sort of poverty alleviation, fighting disease on a global scale would be would be interesting as well.

Brad Cooper:                     04:38                    

OK let's talk about that. So tell us about any Christian background if there was any growing up?

Tom Rudelius:                   04:42                    

So I grew up in a very non-religious family. We never went to church. I like to say that if we had a Bible somewhere in the house I had no idea where it was. So I never really thought too much about these deep, deep questions of faith really until I got to college.

Brad Cooper:                     04:58                    

OK. My understanding is you had a twin brother and I understand it I guess converted to Christianity? Tell us about that and how did that sort of lead into your entering into into the Christian faith.

Tom Rudelius:                   05:09                    

Right. So my brother his freshman year at Northwestern was floormate with a Christian guy and it was really the first time it actually either of us had been exposed to someone who is a serious Christian who was also a serious thinker. So this kid was an engineer and he clearly wasn't stupid. And yet he actually believed in God and in Jesus and it was very strange for my brother. So he was just curious to know how is it that this guy who seemed so level headed could believe something that to us seemed pretty crazy. So after about nine months or so of talking with him my brother became a Christian. And shortly thereafter he started trying to tell me about his newfound faith. He tried to give me a Bible and I told him Look Steve, I have trouble finding time to read books that I want to read much less time read books that I don't want to read. That's just where I was with faith it just didn't seem like something that was relevant or important to me. 

Brad Cooper:                     06:10                    

So some wheels started spinning though it sounded like a little bit.

Tom Rudelius:                   06:13                    

Right, right. I was I was definitely interested in. I mean there was clearly something that had changed about my brother he was all of a sudden going to church he was reading the Bible. And so there was definitely a curiosity at least I wanted to see what it was all about. So eventually I started reading his Bible. We had a lot of conversations about deep question of life. I was quite hostile at times but I did start going to church with him when you about home over the summer and started to learn more and more about their Christian faith.

Brad Cooper:                     06:43                    

And then you had applied for an internship and that was a pretty interesting story. Tell us about that?

Tom Rudelius:                   06:48                    

Right. So I applied for a few internships for the summer after my sophomore year and I got an offer in the intelligence community contingent upon completing a polygraph. So I went into this polygraph and I think my feelings towards that were very similar to my feelings towards God and towards heaven which was you know I'm a good kid. I get good grades. I've never done anything seriously wrong. I'm going to be fine. But I went in and realized very quickly during this polygraph that I was going to fail not only for lying but just if I felt guilty about anything. And so for four hours I shared everything that I could think of that I'd done wrong in my life. And for the first time this Christian message that my brother had been sharing with me this idea that I am broken and in need of a savior started to make sense not only on an intellectual level but on a personal level. Christianity wasn't just something that seemed plausibly true. It's something that I actually needed something that was actually worth committing my life to.

Brad Cooper:                     07:46                    

Pretty amazing. I guess Churches in hearing this now they're going to line people up and hook them up to polygraph tests. I think that think of there about their lives four hours of that too. So that just might have been. I mean just an incredible experience but also many exhausting or I mean maybe you can't tell us what types of questions but I guess I can imagine they were just you know they wanted to make sure they knew everything about you.

Tom Rudelius:                   08:06                    

Right. I mean they basically just wanted to make sure I wasn't a spy or a terrorist or someone who is of such low moral character that I couldn't be trusted with national secrets. The hard thing. I mean it was really hard. Having convinced myself my whole life that I was basically a good person and now having to lay it out for someone else. Really this is sort of like taking off a mask and having it to just be real with someone. It was extremely painful psychologically. But I think also really helped me grow in starting to see who I really was deep down.

Brad Cooper:                     08:40                    

And was there a moment after that where you said OK I get all this stuff? Or was it more gradualover a series of weeks and months that you sort of accepted Christ?

Tom Rudelius:                   08:50                    

Iwould say it actually felt pretty instantaneous. Eventhat day as I was reflecting on who I was and what I just gone through and all of it my brother had been talking to me about. I said wow this is it, you know this Jesus really is someone I need in my life. So I think that the moments of conversion was pretty night to day. But of course as a Christian you don't just become a great person all at once. You know there's this long process of God changing us and making us more like his son. So I got involved through Christian community almost by accident. I was playing intramural basketball with a few guys and one of them was on staff with a Christian organization called Crew at Cornell. And so I actually started to talk to him during basketball telling him how I had recently become a Christian. And from there I started actually getting involved in community.

Brad Cooper:                     09:43                    

OK. And so you started hooking up with other Christians at the college there in Cornell. Did it change your relationship I guess with your other friends and and also more specifically your career choice?

Tom Rudelius:                   09:56                    

I would say not too much. In general my friends and my family especially have all been very positive about my faith. And it's actually something I'm really grateful for because I know that's not true for a lot of people.

Brad Cooper:                     10:09                    

How did you get involved with a trip. It sounds like you took to Haiti?

Tom Rudelius:                   10:12                    

Yes it was through Crew through a campus crusade. You know apply it it was about three months after I became a Christian that I applied which is actually kind of crazy looking back. And when things didn't work out with the NSA I ended up going there to go to Haiti for a few weeks.

Brad Cooper:                     10:30                    

What was that experience like?

Tom Rudelius:                   10:32                    

Yes it was just after the earthquake in January of 2010 and it was definitely a life changing experience. I think for me first of all is such a new Christian someone who had never been in a Christian community. Itwas really a culture shock not only being in Haiti but also being with a team of people who had basically been in the church their whole life. So that was definitely a new take from essentially a culture shock but I think the main thing I'll take away from my time in Haiti was going to be with some of the people there who just lost everything in the earthquake.  Their homes family members all their possessions and were just living in these tents and yet we're still just praising God. And it was really incredible just to see some of the faith that people had even in those dark moments and to see how God for them was not you know the source of all their problems but rather God was their one hope. God was the one thing that they could turn to to make everything better.

Brad Cooper:                     11:27                    

So it was your decision to pursue physics after that or had you already decided at that time?

Tom Rudelius:                   11:32                    

I guess it was it was not too long after that that I took this one physics class on general relativity from professor actually named Liam McCalister at Cornell. It was just a really great class. It was and still is one that I really admire. And so basically from that point I decided I wanted to do that kind of physics and in fact to this day I'm still working on those sorts of questions and string theory in cosmology that he really inspired me to work on back then.

Brad Cooper:                     11:56                    

OK. I was just wondering if the recent conversion to Christianity somehow made you think about some of these questions in a different way and how you could approach them?

Tom Rudelius:                   12:07                    

That'strue although I do think that becoming a Christian made me see the value in some of these deeper questions about reality.  And so for someone who is trying to decide between going to grad school in math and going to grad school in physics there was something about just the fundamental laws of nature that attracted me. I think it's a newfound Christian.

Brad Cooper:                     12:25                    

Right. So let's talk about that in kind of fast forward a little bit now to sort of present day and some of the exposure you've had to some of these bigger questions. You talked about string theory. I believe you worked on like some quantum gravity type issues as well. But what are some of the areas that interest you most? What are some of the biggest questions that you hope to work on?

Tom Rudelius:                   12:42                    

Right. So as I say I'm really interested in string theory and really in cosmology and trying to connect the two.  The big problem with string theory right now is that we don't have any way to connect it to experiment. Probably the best hope that we have for doing that is to try to relate it to something in the early universe that we can go out and measure and right now the best hope for that is probably through this theory of what's known as inflation. The theory of inflation describes this postulated period of X exponential growth of the early universe. So just a fraction of a second after the Big Bang the universe is expanding exponentially. And the hope is that somehow we might be able to take the observations that tell us about that time period and turn it into interesting information about string theory.

Brad Cooper:                     13:25                    

Mm hmm. And are some of these things that you're gonna be working onin your current studies. You are going to be contributing to that do you think?

Tom Rudelius:                   13:32                    

Right. So I would say that I already have it to some extent my work so far as a graduate student has largely involved trying to put constraints on models of the early universe from string theory. And I think that's a promising line of research looking into the future.

Brad Cooper:                     13:48                    

And these are mostly mathematical models I imagine. You know there's thought experiments but as you said there's not right now a whole lot of actual experiments you can do. So you know I imagine it's the work that you're doing pretty heavy duty math.

Tom Rudelius:                   14:00                    

That'sright. That's right. When it comes to inflation there's sort of two routes that you can take. There is the bottom up route where you relate information to experiments and there are a lot of people working on that. And then there's more of what's called a top down approach where you look at the mathematics of inflation and you try to relate that to these more fundamental questions in string theory. So the right I've been primarily focusing on the mathematical side. But the exciting thing about inflation is that since it touches on both experiments and the theory there's some hope that he might be able to connect those two.

Brad Cooper:                     14:30                    

So let's talk about the Big Bang. It's obviously something that I think is fairly common in the popular culture with the television show and I think people at least have a basic idea of a basic idea of what it is talking about Christian faith here Catholic priest George Lametre I guess who was one of the early people who proposed ideas that led to it I guess. But my question on this is I talked to a decent number of Christian theoretical physicists and other Christian scientists. And so some people would even laypeople would point to. OK this is the big bang is somewhat evidence for the Christian faith because it sort of lines up pretty well with Genesis. You know in the Bible. And so what are your thoughts on that and then maybe if you could just sort of describe it from a scientific standpoint. What do we know about it and what are we what are we trying to learn about it?

Tom Rudelius:                   15:11                    

Right. So I guess first with regards to Genesis I think it's I'm generally pretty skeptical about trying to take modern science and try to read it out of the Bible because I think in general the especially Genesis 1is not primarily trying to tell us about how God did things. Ratherit's trying to tell us about who God is and who we are in relation to him. I do think that there is somewhat of an argument to be made for the existence of the creator coming from the idea that the universe had a beginning. This is the so-called cosmological argument and it's been championed by among other people the philosopher William Lane Craig is a big fan of it. The Big Bang theory from a scientific perspective is really the theory of everything after the Big Bang. So this is this we have this pretty decent theory of inflation.  We have a pretty solid idea of what's happening after that with up to some subtleties. But as far as what's happening before this period of inflation the actual Big Bang itself we really have no clue what's going on and if anyone comes around and tells you that they have this model about how the universe started you frankly shouldn't believe them. We really just don't have any idea what's going on either experimentally or theoretically. So that said what we can say with the physics that we do understand it seems that the entire observable universe if you go back far enough in time. The entire observable universe sort of gets scrunched down into an infinitesimally small region of space. So it certainly looks like the universe is not eternal but rather had a beginning at some point in the finite past.  Now on the other hand the physics that we understand is going to break down if the Big Bang. The mathematics become nonsensical. And so this seems to indicate that we do need some sort of other theory if we want to try to explain what was actually happening at the beginning. So I can say so far it's that with the physics we understand it seems like our universe had a beginning. Is it possible that there is some physics that we just have no idea about that it's going to come in and take that away. Yes it's possible but definitely right now the evidence points to the universe having a beginning. And if a philosopher wants to take that and try to argue that you know the beginning of the universe implies a creator. I think that's an interesting argument to make but I'm I'm not a philosopher and so I'm probably not qualified to remark on that aspect of it.

Brad Cooper:                     17:41                    

And so you talked about inflation and so one of the I don't know if it's a requirement, but one of the one of the aspects of the Big Bang that sort of needed that was proposed by Alan Guth and others I guess it was the 70s or 80s that required some pretty accelerated expansion of the universe very fast after the very soon after the Big Bang. It sounds like that's an area that you maybe might be worrying about what is the inflation?

Tom Rudelius:                   18:02                    

Right. So I mean I think you explained it pretty well right there.  The idea with inflation is just that the universe was expanding at a much much faster rate that an exponential rate in the very early universe.  And this is nice because it solves a couple of puzzles a couple of problems with the standard Big Bang model for inflation. Namely people are wondering why the universe looks to be so flat, why the universe looks to be so homogenous and also why we don't observe any magnetic monopoles and inflation solve these problems in a very elegant way. And it also has made some predictions which we sense had verify. So inflation I think is a very elegant solution to a number of problems plaguing the original cosmologies.

Brad Cooper:                     18:43                    

Mm hmm. And so let's shift gears a little bit to talk about fine tuning. So you've talked you've talked about this as well in other places and it's a fairly common theme for scientists in general but for you know Christians in science are in theoretical physicists I guess very specifically but it's Tell us about fine tuning and the implications if there are any to a creator?

Tom Rudelius:                   19:04                    

Yeah. If you look out at the laws of physics that describe our universe you'll find that they have these various constants and quantities appearing in them. And the idea with fine tuning is that if you take one of those constants and tune it just a little bit you'll end up producing a universe that is no longer light permitting. Likely it will it'll either just have a bunch of hydrogen or perhaps it will just collapse on itself or there won't be galaxies or something will go wrong that will prevent life. Now I should say that fine tuning itself is there is solid science. There's there are very few physicists who will deny that our universe is fine tuned for that. Thisis not something that the Christians just invented. It's an argument that there really is. There really are fine tuning problems in physics and in fact I would say that those are the problems that most of my colleagues spend most of their time thinking about. They've really driven a lot of research in the field.  The more controversial question is how do you explain this fine tuning. And I think the way that I would explain this is as follows. You can imagine that in some pieces on a playing chess right and they start to figure out the rules of their universe their chessboard you know for years they start figuring out that Pond's can only move one space at a time.  They start figuring out that Rooks can only move along rows and columns. They find that Bishops can move one diagonals. Eventually they start figuring out about castling and so on and so forth. And there comes a point where they just figured out all of the laws of their chess board universe right. And some of the pieces say all right we're done. We figured out everything you know let's go to the bar and have a drink. But some of the other chess pieces say wait a minute. Hold on. Why are we playing chess not checkers. In other words why are the laws the way they are. Why do we live on this chessboard universe rather than another one. And for people in our world who want to ask questions like that why are the laws the way they are. Why do we have this set of laws and not another. Fine tuning seems to suggest that a possible answer might be that the laws are the way they are because only laws like these will permit life. Theyseem to suggest that perhaps our universe is the way it is because it gives life and some, people myself, included would say that this points to the idea of some designer, some quote unquote God or some other designer who has intentionally created a universe that will have life in it.

Brad Cooper:                     21:34                    

And your colleagues have come to something called the multiverse. And that's I guess come also from string theory as a method of kind of a more mathematical exercise as I understand it. But it's something that's come about that they say well you know it's not necessary that you have these fine tuning for just the one universe that that exists but maybe there are no infinite number of universes right and all and sort of the multiverse. I mean I probably have described it poorly but I mean how would you describe the multiverse theory and how that's come about and then maybe comment on your thoughts on it as a as a scientific theory?

Tom Rudelius:                   22:09                    

Right. So I think you explained multiverse pretty well. The idea is that there are lots of universes. They have different laws of nature in each one. And so the idea is that this could solve fine tuning if if you know as long as some universe out there can permit life then of course life can only exist in such a universe. And so that's the reason we find ourselves living in a life permitting universe rather than a non life permitting one. So what do I have to say about that? Well I think first of all just as how fine tuning is not something it was just invented by Christian apologists. It's it's also true that the multiverse is not just a theory that was invented to get rid of the idea of a God. So there are really some serious scientific proposals for how someone might get a multiverse.  You know it's it's best not to fall off too far on one side where we're saying you know fine tuning doesn't exist or where the multiverse is just this crazy theory. No, fine fine tuning does exist and the multiverse is is not really such a bad idea. In fact I'm very confident in saying that either some sort of God is some sort of designer exists or whatever it exists or both. So if I were not a theist I certainly would buy into the multiverse.

Brad Cooper:                     23:22                    

Are there any serious problems that you see with it? I mean what are the two that certain serious problems that you see with them with the multiverse?

Tom Rudelius:                   23:29                    

Right. So that said the multiverse also isn't solid science right. It's definitely very speculative. To quote preeminent theorists of our Nima Arkani-Hamed who is certainly no theist. The multiverse isn't a theory. It's a cartoon right it's like this cartoon picture of something that we might think might be going on but we really don't have any any solid theory of how it would work. And the biggest problem facing this multiverse cartoon is something known as the measure problem with the multiverse is that anything that can happen is going to happen in infinite number of times. And if that's the case then there's then there's no way for us to sort of define probabilities. There's no way for us to say we that we can expect to live in a universe like this. So you somehow need to find a way to put a measure on this multiverse to figure out which universes in this multiverse are likely to exist.  And the problem is that so far we see that all attempts to solve the major problem are convincing only to the person who thought of them. Most multiverse scenarios are plagued with these issues of the so-called Youngness Paradox why our universe is so young? This issue of Boltzmann Brains it seems like it should be far more observers fluctuating into existence quantum mechanically than there are biologically evolved lifeforms and so on and so forth. So right now it seems like all of our multiverse scenarios are as fine tuned as the universe that we observe if not more so. And so it's tough to say. I would say with with what we know right now that the multiverse is really a solution to the fine tuning problems it could be. It could maybe at some point become a viable solution. But right now it just doesn't seem to be one.

Brad Cooper:                     25:09                    

So for you and your conversion to Christianity and your faith it seemed from what I read and heard for you almost less of a mind thing and more of a heart thing. Soyou were led by your heart and then sort of your mind came in after maybe you know some of what happened with your brother was starting to spark some things in your mind and then falling on that though it seemed like it was less the hands on work that you're doing in science and physics that sort of convinced your mind and it was more historical evidence. Is that right?

Tom Rudelius:                   25:37                    

Yes I think so although I should say that you know prior to my conversion I had been thinking pretty hard about these different arguments for and against the Christian faith. I read a number of books by both Christians and atheists. And so I think what would sort of put me over the edge was really a hard decision but certainly I never would have come to Christianity if I had looked at the arguments for it and found them convincing.

Brad Cooper:                     26:01                    

So there was some serious research that you had been doing and that sort of puts you over the at the experience.

Tom Rudelius:                   26:01                    

Yeah. I'd say so.

Brad Cooper:                     26:08                    

But so as far as that evidence though what was the most compelling thing for you? or what were the most compelling sources or or evidence?

Tom Rudelius:                   26:15                    

Right. I mean I think that the thing that really appeals to me about Christianity versus other religions as a scientist is that it actually offers a testable falsifiable claim namely the resurrection of Jesus. And what's important right is that the Christian claim is that this this person of Jesus was actually someone who existed who performed miracles who lived and breathed and died and rose again in our spacetime universe not in some far off land of the gods. And so for me that's as a scientist that was something that was really appealing. You know this is something I can actually do. This is something for which we actually have historical evidence this is something I can actually get my hands dirty in data and I'm pretty convinced that in general history is a more reliable source of truth than metaphysics. For me one of the main reasons I prefer Christianity over say naturalism is that I think that the arguments for naturalism are primarily based on metaphysical arguments that they just are relatively speculative.  Where is the evidence for Christianity comes from hard historical data.

Brad Cooper:                     27:16                    

With your relationships with your friends and classmates and teachers and all of that, you said that they you know you can't really experience anything negativity per se in becoming a Christian but it did it change your view in sort of how you looked at you know and that you were you finding more Christians now in your physics and science classes and your travels around the world where you sort of looking for other people who might have been believers or kind of keeping your eye out. Iguess it's sort of like you know you don't really notice babies until you're a parent and you are a baby of your own and all of the sudden there are babies everywhere. Was there any of that at all?

Tom Rudelius:                   27:48                    

Yes, yes I can relate to that. Imean I've been fortunate to have a really great community of Christians around me wherever I've been back in Cornell. And now here at Harvard. I have been fortunate to connect with a number of stellar Christians in my field in intuitive physics and that's been definitely a very encouraging and also very very just very important to me to be able to connect and to be part of this bigger family.

Brad Cooper:                     28:14                    

So for you, you were not a believer already pursuing science and physics and then became a believer and then for others there they may be Christians maybe reluctant to dive into science intentionally because maybe of a concern that you know that everybody's going to be against me in that field. You'reobviously finding it's not that way. Thereare a lot of supportivepeople there and what would you do to encourage young people who are Christian believers already in you know in praying about it calling it science. 

Tom Rudelius:                   28:41                    

Right. I think the first Christians should never be afraid of having their beliefs challenged and with interacting with with those of different beliefs. If our faith is true and I'm pretty sure it is then really we have nothing to be afraid of both because we're standing on the truth. And also because because we have a God who cares for us and loves us.  And I think really one of the most important things that we can be doing as Christians is to be embracing science and to be interacting with it in an intellectually rigorous way. I think that the reason why a lot of my colleagues tend to be more dismissive of religious faith isn't because they're against religion in general. They're just against it to the extent that it impinges on their life or on their research or on science in general. And so I think it's very important for us to have Christians, to have young people who are going to be embracing what we're learning from science and integrating with their faith in an intellectually honest way.  And I think that's something that's going to be a strong witness both within the Christian community but also to the scientific community at large.

Brad Cooper:                     29:46                    

What have been some of the things you enjoyed about your college career so far and studies and what it would have been some of the challenging things so somebody is considering jumping into an undergrad degree in math or physics or science and then going on to further study graduate school. What are some of the you know because everyone just sort of imagines a long nights in the library instead of very really hard exams and studying. I'm guessing a lot of some of that's true maybe some of it's not but what are some of the things that you enjoyed and what are some of the challenging things that someone should expect.

Tom Rudelius:                   30:16                    

Well you know I mean me being a scientist is a lot of hard work and definitely there are those times I think what helps a lot is is having a community of other people around, other scientists, and if you're a Christian or other believers to encourage you and to help you along. I should say that I've been very blessed to have experienced a good amount of success in my studies and especially recently in my research. So for me as you mentioned you know I've gotten invitations to speak at a number of conferences and seminars around the world. And so it's been really exciting for me having people start to take my research seriously and having people you know taking the research that I've done in working with can follow our projects and take taking what I've done and try to understand it better. So I think maybe this is true in any field but succeeding in science is really fun and getting to see all the hard work you put in really pay off.   I think that anyone who is you know intellectually gifted and is willing to work hard enough will get to it to experience that at least to some extent.

Brad Cooper:                     31:17                    

Doyou see some solutions to some of those bigger problems you talked about coming any time soon. So you know coming up with some kind of a proof or something for string theory or you know some of the aspects that you're working on you know in terms of the early Big Bang and now solving quantum gravity. You must have some sense that you know where you have the ability to solve some of these things I'm guessing otherwise you probably wouldn't be doing it. But what's your sense of timeframe and you know how likely some of these things are to be solved?

Tom Rudelius:                   31:43                    

All right. I think part of it depends on what you define a solution to be. Right. I think it's hard to imagine having something that's just so clean that everyone just becomes convinced of it.  But you know the truth is it isn't that pretty rare in science anyway. Most of the time there is. You have some data and you have some people who are convinced and you have some people who aren't. Andthat's where the discussion takes place, that's a research takes place. What I will say is that I'm particularly excited about is the fact that within the next 5, 10, 20 years the data coming from the early universe that is the data it's relevant to inflation is going to be getting better and better. And for us theorists this means that the models that we're allowed to build is going to get smaller and smaller because the fewer and fewer of our models are going to agree with data. And so I think it's it is an exciting time to be working on really enormous cosmology because we're really in this era now of precision cosmology.  Are we going to get to a point in the next 30 years 50 years where we can say aha this is experimental proof of string theory? That seems unlikely to me. But I do think that we're going to see more and more contact between string theory and quantum gravity and observational data. And my hope is that we theorists will be able to keep up with the experimental data that's coming out.

Brad Cooper:                     33:04                    

Let'shave some pretty exciting work. And you've already made contributions. You know I would say relatively early in your career already and you've been able to speak in front of you know a lot of colleagues around the world on some pretty interesting topics so congratulations already on the initial success. Thankful that you had that experience and God pulled you into the fold here and you know now looking at all of these things so I would imagine from the lens of you know a believer and a Christian and hopefully you encourage others. So Dr. Tom Riddle s very much appreciate your time this evening on a Friday night and hopefully you can go enjoy the rest of your Friday night. But thank you so much for speaking with us this evening.

Tom Rudelius:                   33:43                    

My pleasure. Thanks a lot.

Brad Cooper:                     33:45                    

OK thank you Dr. Delius and we'll be talking to you soon.

Announcer:                        33:47                    

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